You can’t beat a classic! French vinaigrette must be the definitive dressing for salad. Rich, thick and tangy, it’s incredibly versatile and can be served with a myriad of different things. As such, it’s a store-cupboard staple, and no kitchen can be considered complete without it!
Despite its wonderful taste and ease of preparation, few people seem to get it right. The dressing should be thick and emulsified; more of a coating than a pouring dressing. The flavour should have just the right amount of sharpness, thereby able to cut through strong ingredients such as cheese, smoked fish and cured meats. I always think it’s at its best when served simply however; tossed over crisp green leaves or crunchy French beans. When topped with a light shaving of parmesan, such dishes become a delicious meal in themselves!
A common mistake with vinaigrette is the use of olive oil. This will result in an unattractive suspension which quickly separates. You’re left with a green sludgy liquid which tastes as bad as it looks. In my experience, the best oil to make vinaigrette is sunflower oil. It’s light in flavour, which allows the other ingredients to deliver the taste. If all you can taste is oil then there’s very little point! You may as well stick with that and save yourself the effort!
Another positive is that French dressing is also incredibly low in carbohydrate. This makes it brilliant for a ketogenic diet, and eminently suitable for diabetics or those with a gluten-intolerance. Keep it in the cupboard to ‘dress up’ a quick low-carb lunch or starter. You’ll soon wonder how you ever got by without it!
The recipe is incredibly cheap and easy to follow. I always make it in a big batch, as it keeps for months. The below makes just over a pint and a quarter, so you can keep it in a sealable Kilner jar, ready on hand for whenever you need it.
Into a food-processor with the blade attachment, rip in a good handful of fresh parsley leaves and crush in two cloves of garlic. The parsley serves to ‘calm’ the taste of the raw garlic, thereby delivering a light, mellow flavour, rather than a dressing which tastes of garlic alone. Sprinkle on a large pinch of coarse-salt and grind in a good whack of pepper.
Pulse these in the food-processor until the parsley is finely chopped. At this stage, spoon in two large tablespoonsful of Dijon mustard and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Measure 100ml of white-wine vinegar and pour this on top, then start the motor to form a busily whirring pale-yellow mix.
Into a jug, measure out 600ml of sunflower oil and then pour this very slowly into the processor’s funnel, the motor going all the time. You want the oil to be added as a constant drizzle. Too much to quickly will mean the mix separates and does not emulsify. The dressing will soon thicken to a thick mayonnaise-like consistency. Once all the oil is incorporated, stop the motor and give the dressing a taste,
The flavour should be pleasantly sharp, but not so vinegary as to make you wince. If it needs more oil, add this slowly until the flavour tastes right. Hey presto, your dressing is done!
Spoon the vinaigrette into a Kilner-jar and then gaze lovingly at it with pride! Your salads will soon become the envy of all your friends and lunches need never taste flat again!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!