It’s all in the vinaigrette

March 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

Perfectly balanced, with a slight “bite” on the palate, a well-made vinaigrette elevates common greens from the ordinary to the elegant. With so few ingredients, each addition is crucial. Use the freshest oil and a good-quality vinegar. My favorite is a walnut oil and apple vinegar from Normandy, France. My Aunt Anny from Strasbourg always buys me a bottle or two when I come to visit. Her salads are to die for and she shared with me her recipe. Somehow, her salads still taste better seated at her table surrounded by my French family. But here in Hawaii I think of her often. Today I whisk together the last of my special oil and vinegar for one more salad. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Anny and Gerrard’s garden but I hope it will be soon. No worry if you find yourself without the perfect oil from France, you can substitute your favorite oil – just be sure it is of very good quality. This is not the place for GMO canola oil or the cheapest olive oil you can find. You don’t use much so use the best. My Aunt would agree.

Summer 2011

2 Tablespoons of apple vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
6 Tablespoons of walnut oil

1. Combine the vinegar, mustard, onion, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow the ingredients to macerate for 10 minutes.

2. While whisking, slowly add the walnut oil until the mixture is emulsified. Adjust seasoning.

3. To dress the salad, place dried greens in a wide bowl. Season with a pinch of coarse salt. Whisk vinaigrette; pour over greens, being careful not to overdress – more can always be added. Gently toss until leaves are coated. Serve immediately.


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