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The Food Processor

How to Keep Vinaigrettes Mixed

June 26, 1986|JANE SALZFASS FREIMAN

The saying that oil and water don't mix might apply to oil and vinegar mixtures known as vinaigrettes, which have the bothersome habit of separating almost as soon as they are combined.

I prefer using the food processor to puree a clove of garlic, a small amount of Dijon mustard or even a tablespoon of cream into a dressing so it holds together without remixing.

Vinegars flavored by Sherry, honey, raspberry or other fruit and herb flavors add wonderful tastes to salad dressings, particularly when used with walnut or hazelnut oils.

The combination of fruit vinegars and nut oils enhances even the simplest tossed green salad and does wonders for any salad containing fruit or even meats such as lamb, poultry or game.

One problem is that a little goes a long way when it comes to nut oils since the oils have very intense flavors. Fruit vinegars frequently are sharper than standardized, more commercial vinegar brands. Therefore, the following recipes have been altered from the usual 2-to-1 oil-to-vinegar proportions to compensate.

Using the food processor to mix a vinaigrette creates an automatic emulsion. Ingredients such as pureed garlic and mustard, which contain vegetable starch, or cream act as binders when the force of the turning metal blade is applied to the mixtures.

The proportions of these dressings are not inviolate. A tablespoon or two of nut oil can replace some of the olive oil to strengthen the nut flavor. Conversely, the amount of olive oil can be decreased slightly to heighten the intensity of vinegar.

In any event, these dressings should hold at room temperature without separating for at least two hours, and often they will hold perfectly overnight. As a last resort, they can be reprocessed by being poured slowly into the machine with the motor running.

HONEY OR RASPBERRY VINEGAR WITH HAZELNUT OIL

1 small clove garlic, peeled

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey or raspberry vinegar

3 tablespoons hazelnut oil

1/2 cup mild olive oil

Insert metal blade in dry processor container. With motor running, drop garlic into machine. Add salt and mustard. With motor running, pour honey into machine within 15 seconds.

Add hazelnut oil and olive oil within 45 seconds, continuing to process. Taste to adjust seasonings. Makes 3/4 cup.

SHERRY VINEGAR WITH WALNUT OIL

1 medium shallot, peeled

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whipping cream

3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

3 tablespoons walnut oil

1/2 cup mild olive oil

Insert metal blade in dry food processor. With motor running, drop shallot into machine. Add salt, mustard, cream and vinegar. Process 15 seconds.

With motor running, add walnut oil and olive oil to machine within 45 seconds. Taste to adjust seasonings. Makes 3/4 cup.

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