Wednesday, August 25, 2010
O – HOW I LOVE YOU -- O!
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.
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.