Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I tire of store bought dressing, naturally I experimented

I've always made my own vinaigrette dressings, be it just balsamic or even with raspberries. I was out at the store and bough a bottle of Caesar dressing with intentions of making a chicken Caesar salad that evening and come to find that the dressing was just plain awful. Not a hint of the salt and zest that Caesar dressing should of had, but this weird sweet aftertaste....tired of gambling on store bought bottles I decided to take matters in my own hand.

With the latest sweet Caesar disaster my taste buds wanted some umami to cleanse the palate. I began looking through my fridge and my cupboards and I found the usual suspects for dressing, balsamic vinegar and oil, but that wouldn't satisfy my search for umami. I take a second look and come back up with alternative ingredients. Instead of balsamic I can use apple cider or rice vinegar, I have a variety of flavored oils plus I could flavor more on the fly using sous vide is necessary. Wheels are turning......umami......tomato? No I don't want what may become marinara as a dressing. I could use MSG just to get the umami and use whatever else, but I want a unique ingredient for the umami portion of the flavor. I begin to think soy sauce, but that with vinegar and oil wouldn't make for the best dressing......wait, oh I have miso.

When I came across the miso it made me think of the dressings often found on salads in Japanese restaurants. I started to think of what I liked about those dressings I've had in various places in the past as well as what I didn't like. I also considered what flavors I wanted to taste and how. I began with a counter full of ingredients and gradually narrowed them down to my perfect miso soy dressing. It has the umami I wanted, without overbearing saltiness and a hint of ginger to give it a freshness without using acid like lime or lemon to break apart the dressing. I will say now that making dressing while not necessary, but would be of great help using a blender of some sort. Some ingredients are simply never made to mix and while it's possible using hand tools, using a blender would get you better mixture and consistency. Most importantly it will blend together oil and any water or ingredients with water. I used my stick blender with the blade handle for this process and used a two cup pyrex measuring cup to blend everything in.

The ingredients in the end were simple, after many iterations and tasting them side by side this is where I landed;

2 Tbsp. White Miso
2 Tbsp. Toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. Mild soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Organic rice vinegar
1/4 cup Neutral oil such as vegetable, canola, etc.
Heaping 1/4 tsp. Ginger, finely grated (read:between 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)
10~30 ml Hot water

Mix it all but the water together and blend until smooth and once as you blend gradually add water 5~10ml at a time until you reach a desired consistency. I find myself adding 15ml on average to get a consistency that holds like a paste, but flows like oil does off of a spoon.

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