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Verses from my Kitchen: Back to the Basics: French Vinaigrette

September 13, 2010

Back to the Basics: French Vinaigrette

After talking to a few people recently I realize it's a great time to take it back to the basics. Sometimes we get caught up with making meals and preparing lunches that we forget the basics in the kitchen. I can't very well teach knife skills from a blog, but I can take it back to the beginning when it comes to sauces, dressings, and other tips that are useful when working your way around a kitchen.

I've always believed that there isn't a good enough reason to pick up store bought dressings. A homemade vinaigrette is super easy to make and the result is something far superior to anything coming out of the grocery store and mass-produced at a factory somewhere. The same goes for sauces, broths and mayos. The reward is the taste and the wow-factor every time you sit down to eat.

I'll take some time over the next little while breaking it down with: French Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Chicken Stock, Pan Gravy and Tomato Sauce.  Each one of these are classics and when made at home elevates everything you're making, one easy recipe at a time.

The Classic Chicken Stock can be made with the leftovers from your roast and can be easily frozen for future use. It's takes any recipe that calls for broth to a completely different level. When you've made you're first stock, you'll be hard-pressed to pick up a basic carton of broth the next you're shopping when this is in your repertoire.

Pan Gravy is a simple 3-step process that begins with the pan drippings left behind by your meat roasting in the oven. It transports ordinary meals to great meals. One time through and you'll never throw away that flavour goodness at the bottom of the pan again.

Making Tomato Sauce at home is one of my life's great pleasures. Between prep time and cooking time you're talking about 35 minutes and the resulting sauce is so flavourful and so tasty that I guarantee canned sauces will never have a home in your pantry. It requires a few basic ingredients but the final sauce is anything but basic. The satisfaction you get when you make your first batch of sauce will be evident with the smiles on the faces of your dinner guests.

The basic principle for a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. That's it. Making variations of this classic vinaigrette is not only easy but it's fun experimenting. There are so many variations from Balsamic Vinaigrette, Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette, Raspberry Vinaigrette, and on and on. You're limited by your imagination and you're willingness to experiment.

Today i'm going to teach your the Classic French Vinaigrette.

French Vinaigrette:

Makes: 3/4 Cup

1 small shallot, very finely diced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
(optional) 1 tbsp. fresh chopped herb (my preference is parsley)

1. Combine shallot, vinegar and mustard in a mixing bowl.
2. While constantly whisking, add the oil in a slow and steady stream until the vinaigrette emulsifies.

3. Once the oil has fully blended, season with salt & pepper.
4. Add the chopped herb of your choice.

The Ingredients

After Prep Step 1.

Step 1 mixed together.

After Step 3. The Oil has been added and Vinaigrette has emulsified.


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