Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Basics: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Herb Vinaigrette (From Scratch)

the final dressing. make a batch, then add herbs as needed if you want to use it as a base
Part of the gour-maybe philosophy and one of the commandments is to make any recipe your own and eventually, make your own recipes! Once you've got these "gourmet" basics, they can be a foundation to experiment with new flavors. Homemade salad dressing is a perfect example. Yes, you can buy it, but once you see how easy it is to make, and how delicious the results are, why would you? The only skills you need are measuring and chopping. This simple vinaigrette starts with shallots and lemon and can be a jumping off point for a LOT of variations. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand. More pics and the recipe can be found after the jump!

lemons, shallots, mustard, olive oil - you had vinaigrette ingredients and you didn't even know it

You will need:
  • 2 T lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 1 1/4 T finely minced shallots
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T champagne vinegar
  • pinch salt/pepper
  • 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 T white wine vinegar
  • Good quality olive oil (appx 1/4 cup)
  • a hand (immersion blender) or small food processor

Start by mincing the shallots. Place shallots, mustard, vinegars, salt, pepper, brown sugar and lemon juice in the bowl of your blender or processor or other small bowl with high sides (you don't want to vinaigrette your ceiling fan, it is hard to get off.) Blend on high speed until all ingredients are combined into your base. Slowly drizzle the olive oil while you continue to blend. As the olive oil emulsifies with the other ingredients you will start to see a thicker, even colored and textured dressing. Once you've finished adding the olive oil, blend for 10-15 seconds. You are done! Transfer to a bowl or airtight container for storage. This makes about a 1/2 cup dressing.

You can add any variety of spices, herbs (I love tarragon, dill or basil) to this base to taste! Try your favorite. Rosemary is great in the fall too. Just remember, since you are starting with lemons, your dressing is going to have a light citrus flavor, so pick things that work with that flavor profile.

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