Playing With Your Food: the 2012 Recipe for Lemon Vinaigrette

Accidental Locavore Salad With Xanthan Gum DressingAs you know, the Accidental Locavore has a copy of Modernist Cuisine, as you probably don’t know, I’m now the proud owner of a toy box full of all the powders and potions you need for playing with your food, the molecular gastronomy way. The July issue of Food & Wine, has a whole section devoted to using xanthan gum, (which stabilizes and thickens) something that was conveniently a component of my box.

Even though it was late and I was hungry, today seemed like the day to bypass the usual lemon vinaigrette and go for the modernist version (and I recently acquired a blender, so I was really set). This is adapted from Food & Wine, mostly because I didn’t have enough lemons or any grapeseed oil. Use it an inspiration for other types of salad dressing. My version made about ½ cup and took 10 minutes. It’s really simple, don’t let the weird ingredient (supposedly, widely available) fool you.

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • Salt & white pepper (you can use black but it will leave spots)

In a blender, mix the lemon juice and water at low speed. Add the xanthan gum and blend until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 15 seconds. Increase the blender speed to medium and slowly add the olive oil. Blend until creamy. Add the salt and pepper and check for seasoning. Serve over your favorite salad and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Xanthan Gum DressingNotes: This is pretty cool stuff! On a hot day, it just looked refreshing, tasted great and really coated the greens well. I added a couple of chopped-up lemon verbena leaves, so mine is not as pure as it could be. I will definitely try it again, next time with my stick blender. When tomatoes are really ripe it will make a much better balsamic vinaigrette for a salad caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil). Downside…I should have taken a photo of my kitchen when I was through. Juicing ½ a lemon and pouring that on a salad with olive oil, salt and pepper is a lot less mess. Is that the price for being cutting edge?



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