Balsamic Vinegar and Oil

Balsamic Vinegar and Oil

Vinaigrette, prep for Spring Greens

Healthy Fare for the Spring Time

Winter is usually a time when we crave for and indulge in the comfort of rich starchy food. Then, spring beckons with its healthy and lush vegetables. Spring vegetables appeal not just to the taste but to one’s state of health as well. It is just that some find it hard to shit from comfort food to healthy food.

Now, you can wither sauté, grill, steam or roast vegetables. You can also try serving them as crudités. These are raw vegetables that are made tastier with a robust dressing.

Salad greens tossed with a dressing or vinaigrette is also a good option. What’s good is that you do not have to spend a lot of money on the many types that are sold in the supermarket by the bottle. You can already make good vinaigrette with the staples you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Having some company over? No sweat, you can easily whip up great dressings that everyone will enjoy as they are freshly made and use very little preservatives. You can also make enough for what you need so that you do not waste anything.

Preparing these is so easy. Here are some recipes for making the three basic types of dressings, as well as some tips.

Vinaigrettes

This is, we can say, the only time when oil and water (or vinegar, in this case) mix and become a tasty treat at that. In homemade vinaigrette, the vinegar and the oil blend into a temporary emulsion that covers your greens and salads, making them moist and gently flavored.

Let’s get down to the basic. You should first find out what taste you like. Rice vinegar is mildly acidic, so are orange juice and dry, white wine. If you want something that is more tart, use red wine and sherry vinegar. If you want something in between, go for white wine vinegar.

Oils can also be either strong-tasting or neutral (meaning, it does not have much flavor). Examples of flavorful oil are extra virgin olive oil, hazelnut and sesame oil, while canola and light olive oil are considered neutral. It is best to mix both so that the flavor of the oil does not overshadow the flavors of the other ingredients.

A good vinaigrette should be well-balanced in terms of its acidity. The ratio is typically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. However, depending on your tastes and how tart or mild you want it to be, you can try a ratio of 4 to 1 and even 1 to 1.

Take a damp towel and shape it into a ring. Place this at the bottom of a small bowl to help keep it steady. Whisk the ingredients into a mixture, first starting with vinegar and some salt. Then add the oil even as you continue whisking briskly. Gradually add the oil so that an emulsion is formed and you get thickened vinaigrette.

Other alternatives: To add flavor and zest and to stabilize the emulsion, you may also add minced shallots, mayonnaise and other thick sauces, mustard and garlic puree. This is mixed into the vinegar before you add the oil. Adding some mayonnaise will provide a gentle smoothness to the vinaigrette and will make it slightly creamy. If you want to add ground spices, toast and lightly heat it using a bit of hot oil. As for fresh, chopped herbs, add these just before you serve the dish.

[tag] vinaigrette dressing[/tag]

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