Monday, March 21, 2011

Champagne Vinaigrette

This champagne vinaigrette recipe is from the Nordstrom Cafe cookbook, and it goes well with candied walnuts in a fancy pear salad. It is a super yummy salad and it is a great one to serve when you have guests because it is impressively 'fancy', yet so quick and easy to throw together since these ingredients are always available, and most likely already in your kitchen. This vinaigrette could not be a more delicious and easy homemade touch to your salad. You'll have to try it for yourself :)

Recipe (the recipe in the cookbook makes ALOT of dressing, so I halved the recipe for you here and it is still good for 6-8 individual side salads!)

1/2 small Shallot
1 small clove of Garlic, or 1/2 clove garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons of smooth Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 big pinch of Salt
A couple cranks of freshly ground Pepper (recipe calls for white pepper, I used black and it was great)
3/4 cup Champagne Vinegar (White Wine Vinegar is a fine substitute if you don't have Champagne Vinegar on hand)
3/4 cup Canola Oil (you can also use Grapeseed oil as it also has a very light flavor. However, I wouldn't suggest using Olive Oil because it has a strong flavor of its own that competes with the flavors of the other ingredients in this dressing; but I guess if it's all you have you can try it?)

**Nutrition Noteworthy: Canola oil has the least saturated fat of any cooking oil, and its high heat tolerance, neutral taste and light texture make it ideal for many culinary applications. The FDA authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil on its potential to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used in place of saturated fat.

Add all the ingredients (shallot, garlic, dijon, sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar) EXCEPT the oil, into your food processor and blend until smooth. Then, while the processor is ON, slowly drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion:

It is a beautiful, smooth, ivory dressing!

The lightness of a vinaigrette works great with this fancy baby green salad, yet the pungent flavors in this dressing stand up well to the hearty ingredients of pears, walnuts, and gorgonzola. A little bit goes a long way, so start by drizzling sparingly and add more as desired.

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