Many are the variations on vinaigrette

April 26, 1992|By Steven Raichlen | Steven Raichlen,Contributing Writer

Below are recipes for some of the new vinaigrettes. Use them on grilled fish, poached lobster, roast chicken -- even chops and steaks. Oh, yes, they're also good on salads!

Basic vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup.

AThis classic French recipe serves as a point of departure for our exploration of vinaigrettes. The mustard helps the ingredients emulsify.

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

salt and fresh black pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 -1 cup olive oil

Combine the mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in the oil in a thin stream; the sauce should thicken slightly. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, the ingredients can be shaken in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Note: This vinaigrette is particularly good for green salads. I prepare it right in the salad bowl. (You'll need 1/3 cup of dressing for a salad for four.) I place the greens on top and toss the salad at the last minute. I often add a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Joyce Goldstein's charmoula

Makes 1 cup.

Charmoula is a sort of Moroccan vinaigrette popularly served with fish. Joyce Goldstein, of the restaurant Square One in San Francisco, uses this flavorful mixture as a marinade, sauce and salad dressing. The recipe comes from Ms. Goldstein's book "The Mediterranean Kitchen" (William Morrow, 1989).

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup fruity olive oil

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely chop the parsley and cilantro. Mince the garlic. Juice the lemon. Combine the ingredients for the charmoula in a bowl or jar, and whisk or shake to mix.

Use charmoula as a marinade for baked or grilled fish. Spoon more of it over the fish -- or chicken, or even salads -- before serving.

Soy and ginger vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup.

This vinaigrette has Asian overtones that make it good for serving with salmon, tofu and cucumber salads. The recipe comes from Jean-Georges Vongerichten of the restaurant Jojo in New York.

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup canola oil

salt and fresh black pepper

2 tablespoons boiling water

Combine all the ingredients, minus the boiling water, in a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. With the motor running, add the boiling water and blend for 10 seconds. (Note: Ingredients also can be combined in a jar and shaken.)

Jacky Pluton's barbecue vinaigrette

Makes 2/3 cup.

Here's what happens when a French-born and trained chef starts puttering around with American ingredients. Jacky Pluton is the chef of the famous La Vielle Maison restaurant in Boca Raton, Fla. His barbecue vinaigrette is good on hamburgers and all sorts of grilled meats.

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

7 tablespoons peanut oil

a few drops of Tabasco sauce

salt and fresh black pepper


Mix the ingredients in a blender. Correct the seasoning.


Charlie Trotter's lobster vinaigrette

Makes 1/2 cup.

Lobster oil is a little complicated to make, but its rich shellfish flavor and handsome hue make a wonderful vinaigrette. Serve it with fish, shrimp, scallops, sweetbreads and even pasta.


1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

salt and fresh black pepper

6 tablespoons lobster oil (see below)

Place the vinegar, orange juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Whisk in the lobster oil in a thin stream. Correct the seasoning.


3-4 lobster bodies

1 onion

1 carrot

1 stalk celery

1 clove garlic

2 red bell peppers

4 tomatoes

cup olive oil

3 tablespoon cognac

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 orange, peeled and sliced

2 bay leaves

approximately 1 1/2 cups canola oil or grapeseed oil

Using a cleaver, chop the lobster bodies into 1-inch pieces. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Core, seed and dice the peppers. Seed and chop the tomatoes.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the lobster. Cook over high heat for 1 minute. Add the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cognac and flambe.

Note: For an extra-rich lobster oil, you can grind the lobster shells to a paste in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle. This step is rather messy, so omit it if you want.

Add the tomato paste, orange, bay leaves and canola oil. The oil should cover the lobster shells. Cook the mixture over a very low heat for 3 to 4 hours. It shouldn't boil, or even simmer.

Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour off the oil into clean jars or bottles, leaving any liquid behind.

Lobster oil must be refrigerated. It will keep for several months. Let it warm to room temperature before using.

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