7/29/09

Vinaigrette – Good Ingredients Rule!

(vihn-uh-GREHT)

Merriam-Webster says: “a sauce made typically of oil, vinegar, and seasonings and used especially on salads, cold meats, or fish —called also vinaigrette dressing”

Vinaigrettes are truly amazing! They are generally simple to make, flexible in their use and there is a seemingly endless variety of recipes to tinker with. The right vinaigrette pairs flawlessly with salads, vegetables, fish, chicken, pork, steak… you name it!

Now I want to let you in on a little secret that applies to all cooking, but certainly vinaigrettes…

Good ingredients rule..!

Due to their inherent simplicity and flavor impact, a vinaigrette really amplifies the quality (or lack thereof) of the ingredients used in its creation. I cannot stress enough the difference that quality ingredients make. Your taste buds will love you for it..! Let me explain, using a basic vinaigrette recipe that is oft-used around the Connoisseur home…

· 3 parts extra virgin olive oil
· 1 part white wine vinegar
· 1 large (or 2 small) garlic clove
· 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
· Salt and pepper to taste

Your typical and simple recipe with few ingredients. For the olive oil, spend a little extra and get something good. I recommend going to one of the many gourmet kitchen shops or groceries that have olive oil tastings. That way you can truly find what appeals to your palette. Same with the white wine vinegar – stay away from those generic brands. You definitely get what you pay for! Dijon mustard..? Do NOT use Fred-the-Grocer’s brand – stick with quality! And for the salt and pepper be sure to use fresh ground pepper and we recommend a nice sea salt or grey salt – stay away from that Morton’s table salt mess.

Now that I am done pontificating on good ingredients, a couple of notes on this recipe: The ratio of 3 to 1 regarding the olive oil to the vinegar is a standard rule of thumb for vinaigrettes. I usually like a splash more of vinegar to give it just a little extra bite. You can also adjust the garlic down to a single small clove, should you be the shy type. And if you happen to have some fresh herbs around the house, feel free to add them.

Enjoy..!

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