Shallot Dressing

This dressing is so versatile it’s comical. I’ve used it to dress salads, grains, meats, fish, eggs, even savoury danishes! The shallots deliver an umami punch in a way that’s unexpected, into dishes where it might be lacking. Using good local olive oil delivers a soft complexity while the cider vinegar delivers punchy acidity. This dressing can elevate any meal to next-level delicious with a simple flourish.

Pro tip: Steeping the shallots in the vinegar before adding the other ingredients is an important step. Alliums (the family of plants that include shallots, onions, leeks, garlic, etc) produce a sulphur gas that turns to acid when it hits your eyes, making you cry. Steeping the shallots in the vinegar allows this gas to escape the dressing, producing the rounded umami tang that distinguishes it from other dressings.

This recipe can be scaled halved or doubled with ease. It keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge.

2 golden (French) shallots (red onions or even pickling onions work equally as well)
2 cloves of garlic
60mls (1/4 cup) cider vinegar
60mls (1/4 cup) sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
400mls olive oil

Peel the shallots, leaving the root end intact.

On a Microplane or very fine grater, grate the shallots and garlic, you should have about 2 tbsp of fine paste.

In a suitably sized jar, mix the vinegars, grated shallots and garlic, Dijon, salt, and sugar. Steep for 30 minutes.

Add the oil and shake vigorously.

At the restaurant, we incorporated the oil with a stick blender to produce a loose emulsion. It’s a good step if you intend to keep the dressing long-term and can stop the oil from setting solid in the fridge, but it’s not critical to the success of the recipe.

I hope you find 101 ways to use this delicious dressing!

Rhys Hannan – Harvest Chef de Mission

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