Sometimes a favorite new ingredient presents itself unexpectedly. That’s what happened recently when we received a gift bag filled with gourmet vinegars. I’m a big fan of vinegar, I love to use it to add brightness to salad dressings (of course), soups and sauces, roasted vegetables — almost any savory dish in fact — and I often have at least three different varieties open on my counter-top at a time.
The surprising new vinegar in this wonderful gift was this one:
a thick, almost pulpy, tomato vinegar from France.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at first, but then decided to use it just like any other vinegar. I started with salad dressing. Instead of the (inexpensive, I’ll admit) balsamic vinegar I usually use in the dressing I make for my favorite winter radicchio salad, I tried the tomato vinegar.
It was great — tangy and rich with a deep, almost-sweet, tomato-ey flavor — the dressing complemented the bitter taste of the radicchio perfectly.
1/8 cup Tomato vinegar
1/8 cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the two vinegars with the Dijon mustard in a measuring cup or small bowl and mix well.
Slowly add the olive oil, whisking with a fork or small whisk until all the oil has been added and the liquids are emulsified.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Note: This makes a good ½ cup of dressing, more than you need for all but the biggest salads. The dressing will keep, in an air-tight container, for several days.
Since then I have added tomato vinegar to roasted cauliflower (drizzled it sparingly on the florets near the end of their roasting time) and to traditional marinara sauce for spaghetti. In both cases the vinegar added just the right amount of bright freshness and a bit of depth as well.
If you’re in the Portland area you can buy this brand of tomato vinegar locally at Zupan’s (the Belmont store stocks it for sure); it’s also available online from Cybercucina.
I am definitely making this vinegar a regular part of my pantry!
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