Millions are eating clean in January and that means tons of salads. And when it comes to salads, it's all about the dressing, right? Flavored oils are the next cool thing — remember, this is the year fat's back, in a good way — the super easy way to add a whole lot of flavor to all sorts of dishes, but especially salads.
I've been obsessed with flavored oils ever since Leigh Olson from Oil & Vinegar did a demo at Allrecipes' HQ in downtown Seattle on how to make an incredibly delicious vinaigrette. The secret was a Chardonnay Moroccan Grapeseed oil, a magical liquid infused with warm spices. Oil & Vinegar also sells red pepper olive oil, a Blood Orange Riesling oil made with wine from Washington state and an oil infused with Tuscan herbs. The process for extracting maximum flavor took five years of research, Olson explained. "All of the vegetables and spices are crushed together with the olives," she said.
Flavored oils are easy to DIY, too.
When it comes time to put together the dressing, Olson suggests sticking with the time-honored ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (for instance, 6 tablespoons oil to 2 tablespoons vinegar), adding mustard to work as an emulsifier and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper or/and herbs and spices. Whisk or shake and drizzle over mixed greens and, this time of year, she recommends making roast squash a star ingredient: "It adds so much color and great flavor." The roasted squash also brings into sharp focus the exotic quality of the flavored oils, which makes salads a whole lot more satisfying.
More inspiring vinaigrettes, right this way.