Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Orange Cumin Vinaigrette featuring the Old "Make-n-Shake" Salad Dressing Method

One of the first things you’re taught at culinary school is how to make an emulsified salad dressing. Of course, we were no longer allowed to call them “dressings,” and had to refer to them by the proper French name, “vinaigrette,” but I knew deep down they were the same thing.

After learning how to spell “vinaigrette,” which I’m still working on to this day, we were set up with bowls and whisks, and shown how to properly achieve the celebrated emulsification. The chefs demonstrated that by slowly dripping oil into vinegar while whisking like crazy, one could magically bond the two elements together.

It took quite a while, and despite a burning shoulder, and cramping forearm, the method did work beautifully. The dressing was perfectly emulsified, and stayed that way. I was impressed. Of course, the next day they showed us how to do the same thing in a blender in 10 seconds, which really annoyed everybody. Why not show us the easy way first?

Well, little did I know there was even an easier way, than the easier way. That’s right, I’m talking about the old “make-n-shake” salad dressing method. By simply shaking vigorously in a small jar, you can create a temporary emulsification that should stay blended more than long enough to dress a salad.

Now let’s be clear, this method should only be used if you are going to eat your salad right away. The good news is, this accounts for roughly 95% of salad-related scenarios. For the rest of the time, when you need the dressing to stay perfectly blended for hours, like on a buffet, you should use the classic method instead.

Anyway, I'd promised to show you the very tasty orange and cumin vinaigrette that we used on our raw kale salad, and I figured it was the perfect excuse to demo this simple salad dressing trick. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard           
1 rounded teaspoon orange zest
1 tsp cumin, or to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white wine or sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

View the complete recipe