So here we are. We have the acid and we have the oil. We are ready to combine them with herbs and other ingredients to dress the Spring greens that will be here soon. Light, tangy citrus dressings let the peppery taste of the greens shine through while creamy garlic tones even out bitter notes for a headier taste. And, of course, the only truly great dressing is one you make yourself.
VinaigrettesIn its simplest form, vinaigrette is an emulsion made from oil, vinegar and salt. Often Dijon mustard is added along with traditional herbs like tarragon, thyme and marjoram. Creative chefs and kitchen gardeners are experimenting now with different cold pressed oils [see part two], fruited vinegars [see part one], puréed vegetables and other less traditional flavors to make exceptional vinaigrettes with zing. The ratio of vinegar to oil is generally one part vinegar to three parts oil. If lemon juice is used in place of the vinegar, the amount of lemon juice should be increased.
3 tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine
1 tbsp honey mustard
1/4 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
3/4 c nut oil [see part two]
Wisk together the vinegars, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated.
Makes: 1 cup
Mayonnaise uses traditional vinaigrette ingredients but keeps the oil and acid (lemon juice or vinegar) suspended together through the use of eggs. What used to be a tedious job-- the oil had to be added drop by drop while whisking or beating constantly-- is now ever so easy with the click of the cuisinart. Remember to store fresh mayonnaise in the refrigerator [ever wonder what they put in the commercial product that it can be stored on the shelf and keep for months?] and use within 2 days.
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice or herbed vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
Put egg yolks in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel knife. Whisk for 2 seconds. With machine running, very slowly pour in oil in a steady stream and process until mixture is thick. Keep machine running and add lemon juice and tarragon.
Makes: 1/2 cup
Riversong Brown Mayonnaise ...a Pat Crocker original recipe
This is one of those culinary things that just happen. I was writing my Healing Herbs Cookbook (now out of print) and wanted a zippy mayo-substitute. I fooled around and since I knew I loved roasted vegetables, I thought I could get something that had the same consistency as mayonnaise, but without the eggs and the calories. Now I make up lots of this tangy purée and use it everywhere: as a spread for grilled fish, tossed with rice or mixed with anchovies for crackers. It's one of those condiments that will prove to be so versatile in the kitchen. The downside? Its brown. But as far as I am concerned, white isn't exactly organic.
2 onions, peeled & quartered
1 leek, trimmed, washed & coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled & halved
3/4 cup walnut or hazelnut oil, divided
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp freshly grated sea salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Spread onions, leek and garlic on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the oil. Roast in hot oven at 450° F for 15 - 20 minutes, until browned, stirring frequently.
Remove vegetables from oven and spoon directly into a small bowl.
Stir in the remaining 1/2 c of the oil, basil and salt, cover and allow to sit overnight or
at least 4 hours to blend flavours.
Purée vegetable mixture with vinegar in food processor and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
To Use as a Dressing: Whisk together 3 tbsp purée with 1/2 cup orange juice.