The Culinary Corner - 9/18

Let’s emulsify something

Roger Joss
Posted 9/16/20

The Culinary Corner - 9/18

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The Culinary Corner - 9/18

Let’s emulsify something


Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights.  To make a proper vinaigrette will not work if one is unsure of even the slightest detail. 

As you have learned, it is not a simple matter of throwing things together.  Certainly no one can invent or modify the recipe unless they are very practiced and knowledgeable on the matter.  It is imperative for us to fully understand emulsification.  Important matters will be reiterated.

There must be a balance of all flavors in order to fit a primary need in the structure.  For example, the primary need for mustard or egg yolk is to be that needed emulsifier.  However, one must not ignore the fact that emulsifiers also provide a flavor all of their own. 

Such flavors must then be compensated for and blend harmoniously with all other ingredients by correcting the proportions for that balance.  Besides that, they must all be evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.

The mechanical part of making the vinaigrette would be whipping the oil in with the liquid.  As a reminder, this requires a most careful control of the amount of oil flow.  One must begin by whipping in a thin stream of oil into the continuous phase (liquid). 

Once it appears to be emulsifying, then the oil can be added more quickly; all the while whipping like crazy.  Although I like the traditional form, others might prefer the easier method.  An easier method would be to use a mixer with a whip attachment or even a blender or food processer.

At this point, fresh herbs can be added to give it that fresh hint of flavor and color.  As evident by over simmering, herbs are delicate and the flavor corrupted or weakened.  In the case of vinaigrettes, herbs should not be added too early.  To do so, the vinegar can start to discolor the herbs and damage the flavor intended.  You need the vinaigrettes to have a lively fresh tasting flavor.  The thinning of the continuous by the dispersed portion prevents this discoloring and flavor loss.

Garnishes or compliments can now be added.  Fresh or dried herbs make for good compliments.  Fruits or vegetable pieces make for good garnishes.  Even cheese particles.  I often prefer putting in a sprig of thyme, dill weed, oregano, rosemary or even a clove of garlic after the vinaigrette is mixed.  This helps to identify the type of vinaigrette. 

When choosing your garnish and compliments, always keep in mind that it must agree with the established flavors.  As I said earlier, making vinaigrettes is a true test of a true chef; even a challenge.  And yet this is not all.  We still have other sauces and dressings to consider.

Is not culinary wonderful?  Not only does it increase one’s knowledge for producing wonderful eating experiences, but there is no limit to what all can be learned and done.  It also embraces other talented needs such as art and design.  It encourages the inventive mind.

Until next time, peace to all.