Vinaigrette – A Personal Note

Everyone knows the basic vinaigrette right? One part vinegar or lemon juice to three parts oil. Classic, simple, great. But here’s the thing. In this country (UK) that generally turns into a heavy, throat raking combination of balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil. No, no, no. You might get away with that with a really strong piece of red meat or heavily smoked fish, but for everything else it is horrible. I don’t care what some pompous, over trained, self centered tv chef might do to look good on tv, it’s horrible. For a start most balsamic sold in supermarkets is rubbish. Unless it’s the very top quality stuff that has been properly matured and cared for it’s not even good enough for chips. You may just as well use the value brand malt vinegar and save some money. Similar story for virgin olive oil.

So, what should you do? You do this:

Spend time and effort finding a good vinegar. What your looking for is something that will impart a light fruity aroma and taste. What your trying to achieve is a nice yummy fruity taste and not that awful grating on the tongue and the back of the throat. It mustn’t overwhelm the item you put it on. Personally, I use rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar. The light, low acidity of cider vinegar from Burrow Hill is wonderful. Next, find an oil that acts as a complimentary vehicle to transport the flavour of your chosen vinegar. Personally, I use groundnut oil or the lightest olive oil I can find. Add in a little sugar and salt to taste. Experiment with the ratio. For, me 1:4 is normally just fine. Finally, don’t swamp your food in it (less is more).