The one single thing that has most improved my cooking in the last year or so can be stated in one word: vinaigrette. This magical liquid has more flavor than any substance I know. And, its nutritional value packs a punch, too. Olive oil is universally hailed as liquid gold health food, and balsamic vinegar has health benefits of its own.
Every fabulous and frugal kitchen needs a good “go-to” vinaigrette. You can flavor dishes instantly and very frugally with an all-purpose vinaigrette that is kept in the door of your refrigerator. It will keep for a couple of months at least. My new favorite is made with balsamic vinegar. This vinaigrette is delicious on so many things – a marinade for meats, a salad dressing, tossed with vegetables for roasting, a dip for bread, tossed into hot or cold pasta. The list is endless. I even like to make a simple yet flavorful snack by slicing a hard boiled egg and drizzling some over the slices. The other day I tossed some veggies in it and then grilled them. Yum!
My vinaigrette has a few more ingredients than most. I figure if you’re making something that you’re going to use a lot and will keep for a few months, why not make it just right?Â I like the Perfect Pantry’s Basic Vinaigrette, and the Cooks Illustrated version, but jazzed them both up a bit.
As for oil, I use the good stuff for this, since you might want to use it “as is,” without cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is the oil of choice for this, but I also add a little canola oil because the EVOO is very strong and tends to overtake the vinaigrette.
I like to keep it in a small canning jar with a lid so that it can be easily shaken.
So, whip up a batch of this vinaigrette (or your own custom version) and keep it handy – you might want to make a big batch, because I promise you will LOVE it!
1/3 cup high quality balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium shallot, finely grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)
Put in a lidded jar and shake well before using. Will keep refrigerated for 6 to 8 weeks. Flavor is best when served at room temperature.
— posted by Donna