Eva’s Salad Dressing -Vinaigrette

BEST HERB Vinaigrette SALAD DRESSING
Change your salad dressing from ordinary to extraordinary!  When we serve salad greens, everyone knows they will be getting my fresh ‘herb’ dressing with it.  Friends and family still rave about it to this day. “When are you going to add your salad dressing to your blog?” I hope you like it!
SECRET FORMULA:  The secret is twofold (1) The ‘FRESH’ herbs speak for themselves.  (2) You are looking for the right balance of oil and vinegar. Taste the dressing before serving.  I can not emphasize this enough.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 vinegar – (blueberry + balsamic vinegar)
  • 2/3 oil – avocado, olive or hazelnut
  • 1/4 tsp pepper*
  • 1/4 tsp salt*
  • FRESH Herbs: Italian parsley, thyme -lemon thyme, tarragon, basil

The amount of herbs varies -no exact measurement.  Over the years, I have found that  you never put in too much herbs.
*FRESH ground pepper corn (and salt) adds a specific aroma
Hint: If you don’t have everything ..improvise.  Also, use best ingredients because you are not using that much of it.

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix avocado oil with pepper + salt
  • Add vinegar – blend/shake in a small jar.
  • ADD HERBS**

**BEFORE YOU ADD THE HERBS – TASTE the dressing using a piece of lettuce [ This is an important step]

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TASTE TEST: The best way to test this recipe is with a piece of lettuce. The taste should be dull. You are looking for the balance of oil and vinegar. The dressing should not be too vinegary.  You need to keep in mind that the taste should be dull. The herbs will add a tangy lift.  A mistake some people make is to have the vinegar overpowering.
Last step ..add the herbs. They provide an exquisite bright flavour to your dressing. I add lots of herbs.

FARM TO TABLE 
The new trend serving prepared meals  directly from the farm to the table has captured a lot of chefs/restaurants.  I support this wonderful trend in natural eating, as we dig into our herb ‘farm’ to prepare this salad dressing.

Fragrant Basil Growing In Your Garden

FRESH SALAD DRESSING
I have heard people say that once you have had fresh salad dressing, you never go back to store bought again. It is true for me. I always have oil and vinegar in the house. There is no excuse not to make a quick dressing or vinaigrette in 5 minutes.

ARE YOU ABLE TO TELL IF VINEGAR IS BAD?
Vinegar has an indefinite shelf life. It can still alter in appearance and strength after five to ten years. Balsamic vinegar has a tangy-sweet taste.  It  is aged in oak caskets and becomes darker and sweeter as it ages.  Hints of the oak casket linger in this vinegar. The best place to store vinegar is in a fairly cool, dark place. aside: My friend who has wine from Abe Lincoln’s private stock  said, ” You don’t want to drink it. It tastes like vinegar. “

Blueberry vinegar is good for your health. Blueberries improve eyesight and memory.  The list goes on. You can even buy blueberry vinegar capsules for health therapy ( sometimes called ‘Nordic Tonic‘). Remember the apple cider vinegar trend? Everyone was taking a shot of apple cider vinegar as a daily tonic.  Healthy trends are good trends.

WE SHOULD EAT LOTS OF SALADS  Let your salad dressing wake up your taste buds.  A five minute marvel. Voila!

Massimo Bottura

OH WHAT A NIGHT …IT WAS SUCH A NIGHT!
The stars were out tonight, as we waited in anticipation to meet Massimo Bottura at George Brown College. All the chefs-in-training, clad in their best whites were waiting with joy on this cold, crisp February night.stars-animated-gif

Massimo Bottura told interesting stories. Many of which are described in his book “Never Trust A Skinny Italian Chef”.  He dropped out of law school to follow his passion as a chef and his father would not speak to him for some time.  Massimo was awarded his third Michelin Star just weeks before his father passed. His restaurant has been named as the best restaurant in the world twice now.  The San Pellegrino site states:  Massimo Bottura’s three-starred Michelin restaurant, Osteria Francescana  was voted #1, 2018.

“So, how do each of these initiatives blend together to address the future of food? “One only needs to look at it with the right eyes,” Bottura said,

” One of those passions is reconsidering society’s changing relationship with food and the surrounding landscape. Alongside his wife and business partner, Lara Gilmore, Bottura is about to unveil Casa Maria Luigia, an 18th-Century villa-turned-bed-and-breakfast nestled in the hills of Emilia-Romagna that, as Gilmore puts it, “offers a 3D image of how we see Italy” published by bbc.com

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Me and Chef Massimo  – Book Signing

Massimo Bottura spent a summer at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli (awarded best restaurant in the world for several years before closure) in Spain and a year at Alaine Ducasse’s restaurant in Monte Carlo. He was invited to be their head chef. An honour in itself. Massimo’s book “Never Trust An Italian Skinny Chef”  is an interesting read. I was up until 4:00 am reading his life’s journey.  In his talk and in his book, Massimo speaks about the difficulty in making a “simple” dish spectacular.  The stages of parmigiano reggiano was particularly interesting.

Parmigiano Reggiano SALAD
As an homage to Massimo, I am making a favourite salad of mine, which incorporates reggiano. I took this pictures right before leaving to meet Massimo Bottura for a second time. He is speaking again tonight at George Brown along with Canadian celebrity chef’s including Claudio Aprile, our own molecular gastronomy chef.
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RECIPE
Mushroom, Reggiano Salad

* 2 portobello mushrooms
* arugula lettuce
* balsamic syrup (home made)
* parmigiano reggiano, shaved slices
* thin slices of prosciutto or seranno ham

Sauté slices of portobello mushrooms in some olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Not much since the prosciutto will be salty enough. No pepper.  The arugula is peppery enough. Set mushrooms aside. Fry  until crispy like bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?), slices of Serrano or prosciutto, adding more olive oil if required. Place arugula on a platter. Layer on top the sautéed mushrooms, fried prosciutto, shavings of regianno, and drizzle with the syrup.

HAT2FOOD TIPS: There are no quantities in this recipe as you will use as much as you need for the amount of servings. It would be best served on a flat platter with a serving spoon and people can help themselves. As there are only a few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients are paramount.  I buy the serrano fresh from the local St. Lawrence market (in Toronto, CAN). I have the butcher slice it for me.  I buy the reggiano from the same location.  I have them cut it from the wheel instead of buying the pre-cut sections.  I tell them that I need a larger slice, even if I don’t.  It gives me an excuse to have them cut it.  If you can, it would be best to buy the day the wheel is cut.  Reggiano is a living ingredient which deteriorates in quality the same way that a wine does after it’s open.  You can only appreciate this when you have tasted it.  I notice there are stores today that will announce that they are cutting wheels of cheese.  When they do, run…… It will be worth it!