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Sherry Wine Vinaigrette
Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight. Serve at room temperature but store in the refrigerator. This vinaigrette becomes more flavorful over time.
Tips: The 2 most important ingredients for this or any vinaigrette are the olive oil and the vinegar. For the olive oil, we prefer either a Tuscan, such as Badia, or an Umbrian, such as Trevi. Both oils are cold pressed, extra virgin, and made from 100% Italian olives. The olive growers in these 2 provinces harvest their crop earlier than in most regions of Italy and most areas of the world. What are the results? You will find a gentle nutty, less acidic olive taste that will not be overpowering, which can be an especially beneficial feature for cold preparations. For the sherry wine vinegar, we use Vinegar de Jerez, Cepa Vieja - 40 year from Spain. Why? We always like to go to the source and we believe that it is the best value for our dollars.
We tend to use this as our basic vinaigrette recipe and build outward from it. Depending upon what flavor we feel will go best with the following course or what herbs/spices are in season, we may add any one or more of a number of ingredients. Try some of the following: oregano, tarragon, tarragon with a little sugar, tarragon with some orange oil, thyme, and the list goes on. Don't be afraid to experiment or maybe to incorporate some of your own herbs/spices into the basic recipe. Be creative! Do remember that the optimal ration of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. When it comes down to it, do what you like. Determine what produces the best flavor for your palate and try to take into consideration the other items on the menu and the salad ingredients. For example, you may wish to add juniper berries if venison is on the menu.
One more hint, we never entirely empty the bottle of dressing. We wait until it is about 1/3 full and then replenish it, adjust the seasoning, and let it sit overnight at room temperature. We find that allowing some of the ingredients to remain in the bottle add flavor as they tend to mature over time, thus developing a more flavorful dressing. Dave Cerchio, former innkeeper
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