5 Ideas for Vinaigrettes

One of the great pleasures of the summer season is dining outside. The meal is relaxing and who cares if anything drops on the floor. Well really, that’s for the dog to take care of inside and outside.

Don’t feed him from the table, but anything that drops to the floor, or flies from your fork from animated conversation, is a treat for our furry friend.

Now that you have the ratio of 3 to 1, oil to vinegar memorized here are some variations of the basic vinaigrette.

Mustard

Stir in some Dijon mustard for a bit of a tang in the vinaigrette. Any version of mustard works. Use a regular Dijon mustard and try a whole grain mustard too. Each lends a different texture to the vinaigrette.

Roasted Garlic

Many people don’t like the taste of raw garlic in their vinaigrettes. Raw garlic can have a pungent flavor that some people find unappealing. As we said in another post, garlic takes on a completely different flavor when it is roasted. It is less assertive and has a sweetness to it.

We talked about roasting garlic before, but you’re not going to want to roast a whole head of garlic to use some of it in a vinaigrette. Place 1 or 2 cloves of garlic in a cold pan with the extra-virgin-olive-oil that you would use in the vinaigrette.

Slowly warm the oil. The garlic will infuse the olive oil. This will take about 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and allow the oil to cool. Then you are ready to finish making the vinaigrette.

Creamy

Make a creamy vinaigrette by adding a splash of light cream or half and half. This creates a slightly rich vinaigrette with a milky flavor. This is a time when you would think about swapping out a dark balsamic vinegar for a white balsamic.

The taste combination is a little more of a blend that works and the color of the vinaigrette is a better visual presentation.

Shallots

Shallots are good in a vinaigrette because they lend a mild onion taste to the ingredients. You don’t even have to be a master mincer with a knife.

Cut a shallot into a few chunky pieces and use the same method with the shallots as described above with the garlic. Heat the shallots in the oil and allow it to take on the taste of shallot in the background of the oil.

Herbs

Snip them in your garden or pick them up at the farmers’ market. Add some thyme, tarragon or chives to the vinaigrette for an added freshness. Some basil or rosemary. Try different herbs and combinations of herbs. They will make your salad sing.

Today is the first official day of summer vacation. Let the fun begin!

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