- 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Sherry Wine Vinegar
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 to 1 Tbs fresh basil, minced
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight.
Store in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.
This vinaigrette becomes more flavorful over time.
Tips from Chef David Cerchio, The Nutmeg Inn, Wilmington:
The two most important ingredients for this or any vinaigrette are the olive oil and vinegar. We prefer either a Tuscan olive oil such as Badia, or an Umbian olive oil such as Trevi. Both oils are cold pressed, extra virgin, and made from 100% Italian olives. The olive growers in these two Provinces harvest their crop earlier than in most regions of Italy and most areas of the world, which results in a gentle, nutty, and less acidic olive taste which will not be overpowering (an especially beneficial feature for cold preparations).
We always like to go directly to the product source whenever possible, believing that is where the best value lies. That is why we use Vinegar de Jerez, Cepa Vieja 40-Year Sherry Wine Vinegar from Spain.
Always remember that the optimal ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1.
This flavorful Sherry Wine Vinaigrette Dressing is also used as the base upon which to build other variations. Depending upon what flavor we feel will go best with the entree, or what herbs and spices are in season, we may add any one or more of a number of ingredients. Try to take into consideration the salad ingredients and other items on the menu. For example, you may wish to add juniper berries if venison is on the menu.
If you wish to experiment, try adding some of the following herbs and spices:
- tarragon with a little sugar
- tarragon with some orange oil
Be creative! Don't be afraid to incorporate some of your favorite herbs and spices into the basic recipe.
Another tip: We never entirely empty the bottle of dressing. Wait until it is about 1/3 full to replenish and adjust the seasonings, herbs, and spices. Then let it sit overnight at room temperature. We find that allowing some of the ingredients to mature in the bottle tends to develop a more flavorful dressing.