Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Vinaigrette dressings have taken over the primarily sweet and thick dressing that was so popular several years ago. Not only are vinaigrette dressings used on salads but this dressing is also used as sauces for fish and other main course meals. Over the fruit salads and even desserts, chefs are concocting a sweetened mint raspberry vinaigrette to serve to their clientele.
Vinaigrette dressing can be used warmed or at room temperature. Even though the name implies the use of vinegar, citrus juice or any other acid ingredient can be used instead of the vinegar.
Vinegar with a distinctive flavor is also a choice. Key ingredients are sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, raspberry vinegar and honey vinegar. Even herbs have the benefit of blending with vinegar as does the garlic and shallot family. The oil used is extra virgin olive oil but hazelnut oil, walnut oil, red pepper oil, herb oil, ginger flavored oil, sesame oil or a spice oil will each add its unique flavor.
Sautéing vegetables, fish, poultry or the meat in bacon, chicken or duck fat and then adding some vinegar when the cooking is done will create a vinaigrette that is used to pour over the sautéed food. A French bistro salad is made from salad greens in which diced bacon is sautéed and vinegar added.
Vinaigrette dressing should be harmoniously blended using vinegar and oil. If unsure, mix three parts of oil to one part of vinegar or any another acidic food. If sweetness can be tasted in a citrus food, than mixing two parts oil to one of acid may be used or even one to one.
When marinating meat, fish, or poultry, the acid in the vinaigrette should be increased. If raw meat, fish or poultry is to be marinated, do not pour the same marinade over cooked food. Raw food may contain harmful bacteria. Boil the marinade first or even prepare a fresh batch to be used as a sauce.
It is quite simple to prepare a vinaigrette as a dressing; just taste and adjust as you prepare using just the right amount of oil or vinegar. In a tightly enclosed container, vinaigrette dressing can be stored for months in the refrigerator. Since oil and vinegar do tend to separate, vigorous shaking of the container will once again blend the key ingredients. And if need be, prepared mustard can be combine in the vinegar before adding oil.
To add a unique flavor to a basic vinaigrette dressing, include grated minced herbs or crumbled cheese. To it, different diced fruits can be added as well as mixing soy sauce and sugar in some recipes. That is what is so nice about preparing vinaigrette dressing. Just being able to combine your particular spices and seasonings can, in reality, form a signature dressing that you can share with your friends and family. Whether mild in taste or somewhat “zippy”, a vinaigrette dressing should be light and subtle – a flavor just to add that special taste whether to a salad or to the main entrée.
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