Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Recently, my hubby and I, and two of our friends, ate at a fabulous Meditteranean restaurant  in New Bern.  We went ga-ga over the salad, served with a champagne vinaigrette.  The owner/chef chatted with us at our table, and I boldly asked her for the recipe, which she graciously declined to share.  So the four of us tried to recall the flavors, and I spent the next two weeks experimenting to come up with the recipe for champagne vinaigrette. 
I tried infusing my Colavita extra-virgin olive oil with lemon peel and garlic, and used a good grade of white wine vinegar, and just about nailed it.  Then I decided to buy some champagne vinegar just to see the difference.  Our local Harris Teeter carries several champagne vinegars, but I finally decided to go for O, a California-made champagne vinegar infused with lemon.  Quite by accident, I saw that O also makes a lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil.  So I bought them both (almost $20 for the two).  

The salad in the photo below has some leftover grilled chicken that I shredded.  I sprinkled it with sea salt and drizzled it with the lemon-infused oil and champagne vinegar.
Here’s a simple green salad with champagne vinaigrette that I made and poured over the salad.  The key ingredient in the vinaigrette is parsley, lots of fresh chopped parsley. 
champagne vinaigrette (6)
Instead of making tuna salad with mayonnaise, try drizzling  some O oil and vinegar on a  dish of tuna fish, cooked and cooled green beans, olives and sliced scallions for a refreshing change of pace.
Freshly cooked green beans come alive with a sprinkle of sea salt and a tiny drizzle of the lemon olive oil.
And don’t forget grilled broccoli – some sea salt, crushed garlic and lemon olive oil brings it over the top. 
Although I enjoyed all my experiments, I finally settled on a very simple way to make a champagne vinaigrette for a single salad.  It’s so simple, it’s ridiculous.  And it’s so delicious, it’s imperative to not not make it.

You don’t really need a recipe for this.  Toss your salad with a good sea salt (and, optionally, some freshly ground black pepper).  Chop some fresh parsley as small as you can.  Chop a lot, more than you think you will use.  You’ll be amazed at what it does for the salad.  Toss again.  Now drizzle your salad very lightly with the delicious lemon-infused oil and champagne vinegar.  Use as little as possible, hardly any.  For a single salad, try using 1/2 tsp. of each, adding more in drops. You just want to barely coat the greens, you don’t want any dressing laying in a pool at the bottom of the salad.  Toss the salad, taste, then add a little more if you need to.  This is a salad you will remember and yearn for.

While experimenting, I found that I’ve not only fallen in love with O, I’ve also fallen back in love with parsley, an underused and underappreciated herb.  It takes the dressing to the next level.

O, I love you, O.

Please note that I have not been compensated in any way for this endorsement.


A Year on the Grill said...

A wonderful post. BIG fan of O Olive Oils myself. A bit pricey, so i only use them when I eat raw veggies and slads. Makes everything POP!

well done post!

Lea Ann said...

I've seen these products and never used them. Gotta get me some of that O. Great post.

teresa said...

nothing better then finding a lovely ingredient!

Sophie said...

A lovely post!

That special olive oil sounds really tasty!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am a HUGE fan of vinegars. I must have a dozen or more. I've seen the O brand but didn't know much about it.

Now I can't wait to get to a Fresh Market in the city where I can get a bottle of each.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

I'm happy to try hear about new product - thanks. Something you may like to try in your salads is Sorrel, it is a leafy green lemon like herb and it is delicious in a salad! I agree 100 percent about parsley being underused! I made a great salad with parsley, romaine, green peas and a mustard vinaigrette - that was it and everyone LOVED it!