SO.... My foodie friend Jacki and I have been discussing vinaigrette's, and our obsession with flavored vinegars. Since a friend of mine on the coast sent me an email today wondering about vinaigrette's, this discussion was apropos. Sarah was telling me that she had been served a salad in a restaurant coated with a lovely balsamic vinaigrette, and that she'd been trying to replicate it ever since. The problem, she said, was that she couldn't replicate the "creamy" texture, and wondered if I knew how to make it.
The misnomer here is that people think there's actually cream in creamy vinaigrette's, when we all know that if we think about it, cream and vinegar=curdles=yuck! I actually learned how to make a creamy vinaigrette from my sister Karena, who makes a kick-ass salad dressing from scratch. She was the one who taught me how to make the worlds best snack plate, so kudos to you, sissy, for showing this old dog a new trick.
So back to the creamy: there are a few different ways to achieve that creamy consistency that you're looking for in a good home-made vinaigrette. If you want a cheesy component, any soft cheese crumble adds a wonderful creaminess. I like blue cheese crumbles, which have their own musty flavor and texture. But if you are wanting a non-cheesy creamy dressing, the best way to "cream" up your concoction is with fruit or mustard. I prefer Coleman's dry mustard, but bottled works too, but with a sharper flavor. Other must haves: fresh garlic, some kind of fresh or dried herb, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. Don't be stingy with that salt!
Give this recipe a whirl, literally:
Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, ala Jacki
A handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
About 1/8th cup of Blueberry Basil Vinegar, or plain balsamic if you don't have a flavored vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic
8-10 basil leaves washed and thinly sliced
In a blender puree the blueberries until smooth. Add to blender: vinegar, some S/P and garlic. Puree. Now, slowly drizzle in olive oil until you get the consistency and taste of dressing you want. There is no specific formula for this, the trick is TASTE. Most of the time, it works out to be a little over half a cup. After blending, readjust the seasonings by TASTE and then add the basil. Give all of this a good stir, or even one or two more pulses in the blender and there you have it...HOMEMADE dressing..lasts a good week or so. This works with any fresh/frozen fruit, and any flavored vinegar. Just think about your fruit combinations before you whirl.
Happy "Fall Greens" dressing!