Recently I have been cooking with Aceto Vivo Red Wine Vinegar since it has arrived back in the bay area from the Chianti Region of Italy. This is by far my “go-to” vinegar for versatility and high quality. This is the vinegar used at Chez Panisse. Aceto Vivo became scarce during the pandemic and has started trickling back into supply. The bright, fruity flavor has the perfect acidity for “cooking” shallots or garlic. This 15-minute method of finely mincing and then soaking aromatics in vinegar takes away their pungency and imparts their flavor into the vinegar. In the spring and summer, I usually leave out the garlic and shallot and let the vinegar speak for itself. A teaspoon of Dijon mustard in ¼ cup of vinegar is the base of a simple vinaigrette which is finished by whisking in a good olive oil a few drops at a time until an emulsification is achieved. Once your dressing is beginning to hold together you may increase the olive oil flow until the desired consistence and flavor is achieved. Practice makes perfect here, balancing the acid, salt and fat are all part of the learning curve. I have found this is much more about learning the technique rather than following a recipe. In the coming weeks, I will bring you some actual recipes for Asian Inspired Salad Dressing, Sweet Vinegar Fruit Salad Dressing and a technique for seasoning potatoes perfect for niçoise.
Get acquainted with our ever-growing line of vinegars, oils, and mustards to give your salad season a restaurant quality boost. Red Wine, Chardonnay, Sweet, Dry, Pinot, Apple Balsamic, Apple Cider (3 brands) and Rice vinegars currently hold space on our shelves, still looking for a few additions (Sherry, Balsamic, and Champagne) and we will certainly let you know once they have arrived.
A final note, when tasting your salad dressing for adjustments, always use a little piece of lettuce or something from the salad to dip into and taste it. The flavor of only dressing compared to it on the food it dresses is vastly different and could help in deciding whether to add more vinegar, salt or oil.