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Vinaigrettes, the Universal Flavor Delivery System

Vinaigrettes

A post of recipes today in the StarTribune Online got me thinking…

You ever use a bottle of commercial Italian dressing? Better yet, you ever use one of those dried herb packages, where you put your own vinegar, oil and the seasonings in a specially-shaped cruet and shake like hell to get them all mixed? (That was my job as a kid. Until the cruet got dropped. It was an accident, I swear.)

Well, then you’re familiar with a vinaigrette.

A goodly number of you know how to make your own vinaigrettes too, I bet. But you probably don’t. They’re too messy; you’re too busy. Excuses, excuses! Of the five classic sauces invented by the French, the vinaigrette is perhaps the most genius of them all. Beginning with a base of simple oil and vinegar, you can make almost any flavor you want. Really.

You add herbs, fresh or dried. Spices, including salt, pepper, chile powders and more. Emulsifiers like mustard, mayo, ground ginger, egg yolk and miso paste help to keep the vinaigrette from breaking once you’ve whisked (or shaken) it all together. Now you’ve built a flavorful sauce that can turn a good salad into a great meal.

Not enough flavor yet? Add fruit juice as part of the water-based liquid. Citrus works wonders, and can replace the standard vinegar completely. Use balsamic vinegar for a richer flavor. Try anything from Tabasco to Sriracha to add heat. Or Worcestershire for depth of flavor.

You’re only limited by your imagination and your larder. Or the grocery store, if you like to think big.

On a diet? There are ways to reduce or replace the oil! Yep, low-fat vinaigrettes are possible too.

If you only use homemade vinaigrettes on salads, you’re way ahead already. But consider this: Vinaigrettes makes a great marinades for meat and fish. Tenderizes beef; adds zest to pork; spices up mild fish and chicken. Gets everything ready to grill, and it’s time to get grilling!

One last note. We here at the Chile Underground have written the Compleat Vinaigrette Guide, which includes the All-Purpose, Never-Fail, Standing-on-Your-Head-Simple Vinaigrette recipe (and many more). To get your free copy, simply write your name and address on the back of a crisp $20 bill and send to us, and we’ll rush your copy right to your door! Or click on the link to get your free electronic copy. For a limited time. Hurry before supplies run out! Do not bend fold, spindle or mutilate…

Enjoy the (Spicy Savor System) Heat!

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