21 September, 2012

Herbal Vinegars | Michael Chiarello

Chef Michael Chiarello suggests trying these Herbal Vinegars when making coleslaw, vegetable or warm pasta salads. Taste as you go and adjust for a balance that suits your taste.

Herbal Vinegars ingredients
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup tightly packed fresh green herb leaves (e.g., basil, tarragon, lavender flowers and leaves, oregano, mint, sage, chives)
1 cup champagne vinegar (6% acidity)
Pinch salt

Rosemary Vinegar — Use 1/2 cup rosemary sprigs to 1 cup vinegar. Also, if rosemary is tough and resinous (e.g., in winter or under drought), blanch it in boiling water for about 30 seconds before placing into the blender.

Notes: Opal basil keeps its color and offers lovely presentation opportunities.
Put all ingredients in a blender; process on High speed for about 30 seconds. Strain through a fine strainer into a clean glass bottle; press on the solids to extract all the vinegar and flavor.

You will lose some flavor, but if you prefer a very clear vinegar, filter it through rinsed and squeezed-dry coffee filter(s).

Use immediately when it is a fresh, frothy, delicate green. The color will oxidize, turning a darker green with a brownish hue; however, the flavor is stable.

For later use, cover tightly with a nonmetallic lid; label and store in a cool, dark place.

This Herbal Vinegars recipe is from Michael ChiarelloFlavored Vinegars: 50 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Vinegars (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996), 82.

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