Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Oil and vinegar is the mainstay of many a salad dressing. It's really not a hard thing to make for your clientele. You've got your basic 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil, salt, pepper and there you go, but there's got to be a better way, right? Here's how I tweak the old standard.
I take the traditional and make some healthy and flavorful modifications.
First off, if I'm going to go the way of oil, I'm going to want to give my clients a healthy boost with an oils or set of oils that are high in omega 3s and 6s. Can you say flax seed and pumpkin seed oil? I use that with a premium quality, organic, extra virgin olive oil. Usually, 1 part flax and pumpkin seed oil to 2 parts olive oil. This way I give the best of all worlds. Good rich flavor and excellent quality health.
Second, when I want a sweeter edge to my vinaigrettes, I go with some organic, raw apple cider vinegar. It's loaded with potassium, complex carbohydrates, amino acids and living enzymes for better metabolism and overall health. If I don't particularly want the extra added appley sweetness, I'll go with another vinegar like rice, coconut, red wine, etc. It depends on the mood, pairing and expectations of the client.
Last, I bend the dressing. I take my fresh and dried herbs like basil, mint, garlic, thyme, oregano and the like and infuse them into the oil and vinegar. I do this because each one will draw out certain qualities that the other one couldn't. Once I do this I would combine everything into a blender and blend on high to incorporate it with a little sweetener and mustard, to taste, and bottle it.
When you serve this, you will become a hero and your clients should more than love you for it. For a great variation, try some Caribbean flair to it by adding some heat and citrus. Can anyone say scotch bonnet? It's got beautiful flavor, but I warn you... if you or your clients aren't used to intense heat, you'll want to pass on this one. It's related to the habenero, and the heat can make a grown man cry. So proceed with extreme caution. If you can take it though, I think it's worth the ride.
All in all there are many ways you can stretch your vinaigrette to stand out way above the crowd, and if you follow these ideas, you'll be more than halfway there.
Feel free to drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to explore a personal cheffing subject for you.
As always, I've enjoyed sharing these food ideas with you. Until next time...