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Old 08-07-2007, 11:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DramaQueen
I have never used onion or shallots in a vinegraitte salad dressing. I use garlic with a good grade olive oil, red wine, or champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and it is wonderful!!! I don't know what kind of vinegar the original poster used because I don't know what she means by "regular" vinegar.
In Turkey, where dh is from, his sister makes a nice vinaigrette with just olive oil, lemon juice, some minced shallot, salt and pepper. It is so simple, yet so delicious!! I've used shallot in my vinaigrettes since learning it from her and I have to say I definitely prefer the taste.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:45 AM   #12
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Okay, I'm going to offer a different opinion.

Many many many many people recommend that you use "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" for vinaigrettes... I myself do not. Olives have a definite flavor of their own - one that I absolutely love - but not in mnost dressings.

As many restaurants and fine chefs do, I use a neutral flavored oil in the majority of my vinaigrettes. Canola happens to be my workhorse. It is delicate enough to let the flavors of the other ingredients come through, and doesn't clash with it's own flavors.

Here is my run-o-the-mill vinaigrette.

2-T White Wine Vinegar (I use Red for heartier salads)
1-T Finely Minced Shallot
1-T Minced Chives
1-t Minced Tarragon
1-t Minced Flat Leaf Parsley
2-t Dijon Mustard
Good Pinch of Salt ("Pickling Salt" dissolves easiest)
Good Pinch of Sugar (Balance of Salt/Sweet/Acid is important)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper - To Taste
5-T Canola Oil (Sometimes 6, Depends on strength of the Mustard)

Put it all in a small lidded jar or a screw-top ziplock container and shake vigorously until the liquids emulsify. Let it sit for 15-20min for the flavors to spread/develop then shake again before use.

The trickiest part to a fantastic vinaigrette is getting the correct balance of salt and sugar. Make a practice batch and slowly add more and more salt tasting between each addition until it gets over salted. Then you'll know where the fine line of fantastic lies.

Anyhoo... try using a neutral oil like canola. The herbs I commonly use above are of course optional, but add some interesting complexity - be careful of the tarragon though, it can be overpowering.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:25 PM   #13
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I bet you it was the onion. Was it a white or yellow one? Those are strong. I would use a shallot which is the milder onion or use a clove or two of garlic instead. I usually use champagne, white wine or apple cider vinegar but white is fine too.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:33 PM   #14
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[quote=Nicholas Mosher]Okay, I'm going to offer a different opinion.

Many many many many people recommend that you use "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" for vinaigrettes... I myself do not. Olives have a definite flavor of their own - one that I absolutely love - but not in mnost dressings.

As many restaurants and fine chefs do, I use a neutral flavored oil in the majority of my vinaigrettes. Canola happens to be my workhorse. It is delicate enough to let the flavors of the other ingredients come through, and doesn't clash with it's own flavors.

Here is my run-o-the-mill vinaigrette.

2-T White Wine Vinegar (I use Red for heartier salads)
1-T Finely Minced Shallot
1-T Minced Chives
1-t Minced Tarragon
1-t Minced Flat Leaf Parsley
2-t Dijon Mustard
Good Pinch of Salt ("Pickling Salt" dissolves easiest)
Good Pinch of Sugar (Balance of Salt/Sweet/Acid is important)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper - To Taste
5-T Canola Oil (Sometimes 6, Depends on strength of the Mustard)

Put it all in a small lidded jar or a screw-top ziplock container and shake vigorously until the liquids emulsify. Let it sit for 15-20min for the flavors to spread/develop then shake again before use.

The trickiest part to a fantastic vinaigrette is getting the correct balance of salt and sugar. Make a practice batch and slowly add more and more salt tasting between each addition until it gets over salted. Then you'll know where the fine line of fantastic lies.

Anyhoo... try using a neutral oil like canola. The herbs I commonly use above are of course optional, but add some interesting complexity - be careful of the tarragon though, it can be overpowering. [/quote]

I think it's an individual palate thing.

I pretty much only use a flavorful extra virgin olive oil for vinaigrette dressing -- because of its assertive taste. The best part about a vinaigrette is the olive oil, IMO. And good vinegar. All else is superfluous (most of the time).

I personally don't care for loads of herbs in my vinaigrette. But still, I think an assertive oil is perfect with them, unless you really are aiming at making the herbs the focal point instead of a back note.

I might use canola oil or grapeseed oil for a salad dressing but not a simple vinaigrette.

Everything else you say I totally agree with, particularly the importance of the sugar and salt and their balance. Vinaigrette without them will taste flat and harsh.

I would suggest experimenting with different oils and vinegars -- just don't use white vinegar.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:49 PM   #15
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Besides the vinegar and the onion, the EVOO could have also contributed. Lower quality oils can take on a bitter quality when added to certain ingredients, like those with a high acidic content. Without knowing what brand you used, that combined with the onion and vinegar would've given your dressing a very strong acidic/bitter taste.

With that being said, a vinaigrette is supposed to be acidic. Without tasting it, it's hard to say because what you may consider too acidic, I may consider right on. It's hard for me to picture a vinaigrette that has a 4:1 ratio of fat to acid as being too acidic, especially one that incorporated a strong flavored oil like EVOO.

But again, going back to what the others have said, what type of vinegar did you use? If you're going to make homemade vinaigrettes, then the big three that you should have stocked are balsamic, sherry, and red wine vinegar.

If you didn't use distilled vinegar, and by "regular" you meant white wine vinegar, then I would say it's your perception of what is and isn't too acidic.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:45 PM   #16
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I dont usually use EVOO in my vinaigrettes I prefer light or extra light olive oil its not light of calories its called light because it doesnt have the heavy flovor of EVOO.Its lighter in flavor.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:31 PM   #17
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velochic - I almost mentioned shallots as I have used them too!!! Good suggestion.

IC - I really think the OP meant white vinegar, not white wine vinegar, which would REALLY not taste very good, IMHO.

Also, a lot of times I will use a light olive oil so there is not that strong olive oil flavor in there.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf
IC - I really think the OP meant white vinegar, not white wine vinegar, which would REALLY not taste very good, IMHO.
Hopefully he'll clarify it for us. But I'm curious as to why you'd feel that white wine vinegar would taste worse than distilled white vinegar? The former is lower in acidity than the latter so it would be less harsh on the palate.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:38 PM   #19
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Interesting, ironchef, at how we interpret things. In Alix's post about the white wine vinegar and the white vinegar, I took her to mean the white vinegar was harsher. I just removed the part of the post that was enclosed in commas "white wine vinegar" and read the rest as a complete sentence.

So what I think she was saying was: "I really think the OP meant white vinegar, which would REALLY not taste very good, IMHO."

I could be wrong, though. Just my take.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:51 PM   #20
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Very interesting how we can interpret things! LOL The WHITE vinegar would be VERY harsh, not the white WINE vinegar. The white wine vinegar would have been much better.
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