I’ve paired the Orange Ginger Vinaigrette with fresh tomatoes from my garden – the tomatoes are going absolutely nuts right now here in my Florida garden.
A few weeks ago, I bought a bottle of Asian Orange Ginger Salad Dressing and after only one use, it sat in the back of the refrigerator looking a little sad and rejected. I guess I was expecting so much more from the words, “orange” and “ginger” on the label – words that provoke an immediate emotional and sensory response in me: fresh, zingy, clean and tingly from the heat of the ginger.
Unfortunately for the maker of the dressing, who shall remain unnamed in this little rant, the dressing was overly sweet with a fake candy-like orange flavor and there was no hint of ginger whatsoever.
I should have known better than to buy the bottle in the first place. Making my own salad dressing only takes 10 minutes and I always have the ingredients on hand in the kitchen.
To me, making dressing is all about balance of flavor: lively and tangy, slightly sweet, a little heat and just enough sea salt to bring out all of the flavor notes.
In Asian-style dressing, tangy comes from sweetened or seasoned rice vinegar (see photos above of Mitsukan rice vinegars) – which is vinegar made from rice and seasoned with just a bit of sugar. You can also used unsweetened or unseasoned rice vinegar too. I always have both on in my pantry.
As for the slightly sweet, I love using a bit of honey to balance out the vinegar. The oil I use for Asian dressings is neutral flavored light vegetable oil – olive oil is too strong in flavor. I’ve also used grapeseed oil and rice oil.
Freshly grated ginger provides the heat, no need to even peel the ginger, unless the brown outer skin is dry and thick. Use a rasp or microplane grater and go at it until you have about 1 teaspoon.
The fruit in the dressing is flexible – use any citrus: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, blood orange or go a little more exotic with passion fruit (cut in half spoon out fruit only).
In this photo, I’ve paired the Orange Ginger Vinaigrette with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil – just to change up the normal caprese salad into something more lively.
Asian Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
Making dressing is all about balance of flavor: lively and tangy, slightly sweet, a little heat and just enough sea salt to bring out all of the flavor notes.The fruit in the dressing is flexible – use any citrus: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, blood orange or go a little more exotic with passion fruit (cut in half spoon out fruit only).
Ingredients:1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice from ½ large orange
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (I prefer Mitsukan brand)
1 teaspoon honey
sea salt to taste
¼ cup light vegetable oil
Whisk together all of the ingredients.
*I’ve developed this recipe for a client, Mitsukan, the maker of rice vinegar shown above.