"Go To" Vinaigrette??

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"Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby John F » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:50 am

My wife and I are totally loving being back in the US and going back to a non Asian dominated regimen. Yesterday we were in NYC and had brunch at a nice little Bistro in Chelsea (Le Bergamote) after attending the amazing Eric Clapton Crossroads concert the night before.

I had Croque Madame and she had a simple omelette, but both came with a simple mix of spring greens with a delicious vinaigrette. Utter simplicity - utterly delicious.

Do you guys have a great recipe for a vinaigrette to be used in a salad like that? What are the key factors? I like tangy, I like salty etc etc

TIA for all of your help!!
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Jenise » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:35 pm

John, I've been an expat and know just how you feel. Welcome back! The most basic and classic French vinaigrette for a mix of bitter, sweet and nutty greens would involve a Dijon style mustard thinned with a very small amount of a white or red vinegar (on salad for two, about a teaspoon of each) and then stirred with a fork to emulsify as about two-three tablespoons of EVOO gets slowly streamed in. Adjust salt to taste by sampling with the tip of your finger. Make the dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl, top with the greens and chill. Toss to mix just at service.
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Joy Lindholm » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:00 pm

I second Jenise's idea, but would also add a tip I learned in culinary school literally the first class. Season the mixture before you add the oil so the salt completely dissolves in the acid. I'm not a food scientist, but apparently the fat in the oil prevents the salt from dissolving completely.

If you find it too pungent, try adding a touch of honey to the mustard/vinegar mixture and mix thoroughly before adding the oil. It will take the sharp acidity away and leave balance without adding too much sweetness.

Also, I love playing with different vinegars such as sherry or champagne to keep the acidity but to bring another complexity of flavor. One of my favorite salad dressing oils (other than really good EVOO) is walnut oil - you wouldn't believe how much it can add to a simple salad.

Good luck with your experimenting!
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Jenise » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:11 pm

Joy Lindholm wrote:I second Jenise's idea, but would also add a tip I learned in culinary school literally the first class. Season the mixture before you add the oil so the salt completely dissolves in the acid. I'm not a food scientist, but apparently the fat in the oil prevents the salt from dissolving completely.

If you find it too pungent, try adding a touch of honey to the mustard/vinegar mixture and mix thoroughly before adding the oil. It will take the sharp acidity away and leave balance without adding too much sweetness.

Also, I love playing with different vinegars such as sherry or champagne to keep the acidity but to bring another complexity of flavor. One of my favorite salad dressing oils (other than really good EVOO) is walnut oil - you wouldn't believe how much it can add to a simple salad.

Good luck with your experimenting!


Understood and agree with you on the salt addition. However, the mustard's quite salty so I wouldn't suggest that someone new to making a dressing this way add more salt until they have a sense of what's right for their tastes.

Me too re the different vinegars and oils. I like hazelnut oil as much as walnut, and especially like them with fruit vinegars or plain lemon juice for the acid instead.
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:27 pm

Ours is similar to those above. We start with the juice from a lemon or two (1/4 cup) and add a little honey, mustard, and salt (sorry Jenise). Then a good shot of herbs. Then we add grape seed oil and whisk until the right consistency (between one half and three quarter cup).
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:53 pm

Like others, I don't have a 'go to' vinaigrette although I usually whip up one sort of vinaigrette or another at least once a day. The beautiful thing is that it's hard to go wrong. Mustard, acid, oil, and usually salt. Mix and match as inspired.
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Joy Lindholm » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:09 pm

Jenise wrote:Understood and agree with you on the salt addition. However, the mustard's quite salty so I wouldn't suggest that someone new to making a dressing this way add more salt until they have a sense of what's right for their tastes.


I guess it all depends on the mustard you use. I prefer a nice spicy dijon, and haven't found them too salty.
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Re: "Go To" Vinaigrette??

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:15 pm

yes, we also use some form of vinaigrette most days (because we usually have salad, but also use to dress cooked veggies like asparagus, leeks, etc. )

No set formula, just an acid and oil and possible flavorings.

Acid can be a vinegar, lemon juice, or something else. If we use meyer lemons, maybe up acid to oil ratio (unless a wine dinner). If we use mustard as a flavoring(which has own vinegar), up the oil. What kind of vinegar makes a big difference. I mostly use rice or Champagne, or balsamic if I want that to be dominant flavor.

If serving with wine, I use Meyer lemons or oranges (or sometimes wine!) to reduce acidic contrast.

Flavorings- for some reason diced shallots seem to outperform garlic or onions in dressing to me. Thousands of options. Mustard is our most used. I know you are happy to get away from Asian flavors, but I love a recent NYT dressing where you combine lime juice, shoyu, garlic, ginger, kombu, & bonito, marinate, then strain and combine with grapeseed oil.

A lot is trial and error to discover your preferences, and then it's instinct. You choose what is dominant. If you are adding mustard, you use Champagne vinegar not balsamic, so you don't have 2 basso flavors. If you are thinking miso, then you use rice vinegar. If you just are combining EVOO, vinegar, and garlic, maybe good time for some good balsamic.
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