For the Love of Vinegar

Photo: AdobeStock/noirchocolate

Photo: AdobeStock/noirchocolate

Foodies will Enjoy This Spring Salad Recipe

By Will Coonradt

Dearest Vinegar,

Oh vinegar, how I adore the uppercut of tang you deliver to my taste buds. Your acid is the foundation of flavor, bringing out the best of your distant relatives, fat and sweetness. It is you who balances a dish but at times, if not used with a gentle hand, can take the spotlight and deliver a knockout to all the other flavors. So, I come to you as a lover and an experienced user to plead that you be gentle with the palates of the diner.

Forever,
Will

Using Vinegar in a Variety of Ways 

Vinegar is extremely important for many dishes that are popular at this time of year, such as salads. Vinegar can also be replaced with citrus juice, alcohol, and buttermilk, which is mainly used when baking.  

The process of making homemade vinegar can be difficult and time sensitive. If you are looking to take your vinegar making to this level, I recommend getting Acid Trip by Michael Harlan Turkell. This book reviews the background of vinegars and how they are used throughout major culinary countries. 

If you’d rather not spend your days looking at pH strips and having your house smell like a distillery, delicious, unique infused vinegars can be achieved rather easily and quickly by simply heating up vinegar to 175 degrees Fahrenheit and tossing in your desired flavor. For example, to make Oasis Vinegar, heat up four cups of champagne vinegar and throw in five orange peels (pith removed) and a stick of lemon grass. Heat it and infuse for 3-5 minutes. Taste the vinegar. It should have a vinegar zip with underlying citrus notes. The orange peels and lemon grass can be left in the mixture to further intensify the orange flavor. The Oasis Vinegar could be used to make a hot sauce, a marinade, or in a dressing. The possibilities are endless.

If you plan to make garlic vinegar, be cautious. It is possible to over infuse the garlic, resulting in bitterness, or a hyper-garlic flavor. If you are uncertain if the taste is right, try storing it in a dark room to infuse for a few weeks.  

And, a quick pro tip: If a recipe calls for white vinegar, infuse it with a flavor or ingredient that you’ve used in the dish to give your food depth. 

Spring Salad Recipe

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup Oasis Vinegar (see instructions above)

  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) 

  • Salt to taste

  • Mix everything except the EVOO, while whisking, stream in the EVOO.

Salad:

  • Large serving bowl of arugula and mixed greens

  • 4 radishes cut into thin coins

  • 3 carrots, ribboned 

  • 1 orange, segmented

  • 1 avocado 

  • 1 large pinch of finishing salt.