Forget Store Bought Vinaigrettes

The variations for salad dressings or rather vinaigrettes are endless. In most cases a creamy vinaigrette involves the use of an egg yolk (pasteurized) or mustard to create an emulsion. Classic vinaigrettes require a simple ratio of one part acid to three parts oil. From there you can literally go crazy, especially if you have interesting oils and vinegars.

Although the use of citrus juice can be called a citronette, I lump everything into one category as a vinaigrette. The most important part is fresh ingredients and from scratch. Once you get the hang of it you'll never buy a bottle of "dressing" again. Vinaigrettes are quite tasty on rich meats as opposed to heavy sauces. The acid cuts through the fattiness on a rib eye steak for example and changes the flavor as well.

Last week we made an orange poppy seed vinaigrette at a function. We had many requests for the secret recipe. Here it is:

Orange Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

makes one cup

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (we used segments in the salad)

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

3/4 cup mild olive oil (avoid any that is too bitter or grassy)

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste


Method One: Put all ingredients into a clean jar with a tight lid and shake well until combined.

Method Two: I got a "Ninja" blender for Christmas and love the single serving jar. A blender, or "Magic Bullet" works too. Blend all ingredients except poppy seeds together. Dressing will be creamier. Transfer to a clean jar with lid, add poppy seeds and shake.

Vinaigrette can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Remove 30 minutes before serving so oil can return to liquid state. Shake before using.

Variations: Endless! You can substitute garlic for shallots, add fresh herbs, substitute lime juice for orange juice and zest. Try rice wine vinegar or sherry vinegar. Substitute fresh ginger for poppy seeds.

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