Saturday, September 12, 2015

Salade of Endive, Raspberries, Orange Supremes and Pecans with Raspberry Vinaigrette

     A Light Refreshing Salad Course!
     Freshly made Raspberry vinaigrette is the best.  The color is bright reddish pink.  The flavor is crisp and fruity.
     Many chefs lose sight of what vinaigrette is all about.  What I mean by this is that a vinaigrette becomes more of a convenience, than a bright crisp tasting sauce that easily accents the flavor of whatever food item it is served with.  When Raspberry Vinaigrette is made too far ahead of time, the color fades and the flavor loses the sharp appeal.
    Store bought manufactured bottles of Raspberry Vinaigrette contain copious amounts of raspberrry syrup, emulsifiers, stabilizers, preservatives and artificial food color.  The flavor and texture of these products does not compare to a freshly made Raspberry Vinaigrette.  Most bottled Raspberry Vinaigrette tastes more like raspberry corn syrup with cheap vinegar added.  The consistency is more like a syrup than a light vinaigrette.

     The consistency of a vinaigrette should suit the application.  Stirred vinaigrette is loosely combined and it is nice for some salad applications.  A separated vinaigrette does create an interesting visual effect.
     Semi emulsified vinaigrette will have a very thin consistency that barely coats the lettuce with flavor.  Semi emulsification is best for strong vinaigrette flavors.
     Fully emulsified vinaigrette will generously coat salad greens and it will even cling to warm protein items without separating.  A thick fully emulsified vinaigrette is best when only a tiny amount of dressing is needed or when the vinaigrette has a light flavor.

     Raspberry Vinaegrette is best when it is made with the consistency of a thin semi emulsified vinaigrette.  A thick fully emulsified Raspberry Vinaigrette results in too much dressing clinging to the greens, which results in only tasting raspberry, no matter what the other ingredients in the salad might be.
     Just using Raspberry Vinegar to make Raspberry Vinaigrette will result in a faded brownish color and not enough fruit flavor.  Dijon Mustard improves emulsification, but the mustard oxidizes raspberry fruit, which results in the vinaigrette fading to brownish tint.  Dijon Mustard should not be used to make Raspberry Vinaigrette.
     An easy way to improve the flavor, texture and color is to muddle ripe raspberries with the oil first.  The muddled fruit and oil will aid emulsification.  The result is a semi emulsified Raspberry Vinaigrette does not easily separate after it is whisked till combined, then strained.  This method produces an intense raspberry flavor.
     Raspberry Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields enough vinaigrette for 2 to 3 petite salad portions!
     This vinaigrette is kind of made backwards.  Oil is usually added last.  One might say that this is a mortar and pestle style vinaigrette.  Use a mortal and pestle if you have one.  The muddling can also be done with a food processor or blending wand.  Muddling will result in emulsification.  
     Why not muddle the ripe raspberries with the vinegar?  Adding raspberry to acidic vinegar can cause the fruit flavonoids to negatively change character, due to antioxidant degradation.  Adding raspberry to oil preserves the color and fresh flavor. 
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a mixing bowl.
     Add about 10 ripe raspberries.  (Mushy overripe raspberries work best!)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Mash and muddle the raspberries with the oil, till the mixture is smooth, bright red and glistening.
     Step 2:  Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
     Stir the ingredients, till they are barely mixed together.
     Let the flavors meld for 20 minutes.
     Step 3:  Briskly whisk the vinaigrette with a wire whisk, till it is semi emulsified and it does not easily separate.
     Press the raspberry vinaigrette through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.
     Whisk the raspberry vinaigrette just before serving.
     Endive, Raspberries, Orange Supremes and Pecans with Raspberry Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe yields 1 lunch portion salad.
     Step 1:  Mound 2 1/2 cups of bite size endive lettuce pieces on the center of a plate.
     Place 6 thin orange supremes on the lettuce, so they face outward from the center.
     *Citrus fruit supremes are peeled citrus that is segmented by cutting the fruit free from its membrane.  The seeds are are also removed. 
     Place 4 ripe raspberries around the salad on the plate.
     Step 2:  Garnish the salad with:
     - julienne sliced carrot
     - thin bias sliced green onion
     Step 3:  Briefly whisk the raspberry vinaigrette.
     Drizzle just enough of the raspberry vinaigrette on the salad to add flavor.  Spoon a little vinaigrette on the plate for color.
     Sprinkle a little bit of coarsely chopped roasted pecan halves over the salad.
     Place a raspberry on top!
     This is a very refreshing, healthy, light salad that is perfect for summer!

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