Monday, January 18, 2010

Black Pepper Vinaigrette

The vinaigrette recipe in the September issue of Cook's Illustrated (thanks for the gift subscription, Sarah!) has totally revolutionized our home salad dressing preparation. Having discovered the optimal balance of oil and vinegar, we took advantage of our stash from Kerala and, instead of grinding in a few shakes of black pepper, used a whole tablespoon. One of the major lessons we picked up in India is that black pepper doesn't have to be the afterthought it often becomes in Western cooking--it's an amazing spice that deserves to occasionally be celebrated on its own. For maximum impact, your pepper should be freshly and coarsely ground. Here, we served it with a baby spinach and arugula mix topped with cubed Parmesan and pepitas.

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a squeeze bottle. Shake well to emulsify and pour over your salad of choice!


Heather said...

I definitely agree with you. Throw out that pre-ground black pepper. It's so boring.

Sarah said...

Welcome! :)

Wagnerian said...

What is meant here by 'mustard'?

I Heart Kale said...

The kind that comes in a squeeze bottle :)

Anardana said...

I love black pepper! Freshly ground black pepper is totally underrated.

Janet said...

I think you are right about the freshly ground pepper. With pre-ground (medium grind) pepper from Frontier, the black pepper flavor was not pronounced enough. In spite of that the dressing, made with Dijon mustard, was excellent.

Along with the salad we had blackened catfish and the fenugreek-scented parathas from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer.