Roasted Veg Vinaigrette

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Vinaigrettes are equally as important to me as their salad counterparts. With a proper choice of ingredients, one can really make a salad burst with flavor with a perfectly paired vinaigrette.

I’ve posted before on vinaigrettes made with reduced beet juice ( think salad of crunchy vegetables, lentils and goat cheese) and a vinaigrette made with a fresh pear (think baby greens with apples, bacon, and blue cheese).

I’ve posted on a vinaigrette made with strawberry vinegar, one made with pineapple juice, vinaigrettes with parsley or curry powder… the list is really endless because the possibilities are endless.

Recently I was inspired by a vinaigrette recipe made with roasted onion and shallot. And I got to thinking what I could add to that… because I can’t leave a recipe alone. This is one I created.

Beyond roasting the vegetables, which is left to your oven, the rest is easy!

Make a triple batch! You’ll love how versatile this is not only as a vinaigrette but as a marinade, or served with grilled leeks or asparagus.

Roasted Vegetable Vinaigrette

1 purple onion, peeled, quartered
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, de-seeded, cut into 8ths
6 shallots, peeled, halved
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil, divided
Salt
Pepper
Red wine vinegar
Tabasco sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to a roast setting, or 400 degrees F.

Place the onion, red bell pepper, shallots and garlic cloves on a jelly roll pan or rimmed roasting sheet. Generously drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, about 1/4 cup. Season with salt and pepper.


Roast until vegetables show some caramelization and are tender. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool.

Place all of the vegetables and olive oil into a blender jar.

Blend until smooth, adding another 1/4 cup or so of olive oil.

Then add the red wine vinegar. I’m not offering amounts in this recipe, only because I like my vinaigrettes strongly vinegar-flavored. Most people I’ve cooked for do not.

If you want some zing, add some Tabasco sauce, taste away, and season more if necessary. I added more salt.

Make sure the vinaigrette is smooth. If you use cruets for your vinaigrettes, you are familiar with the problem with one little piece of garlic clogging the spout!

The salad I created to showcase this vinaigrette was simple. Butter lettuce, crab, avocado, green onions, and black sesame seeds.


It was a perfect pairing of tastes and textures.

I was lucky enough to have frozen crab legs left over from the holidays, so I used that crab. But grilled shrimp or scallops would also be divine.

Note: This recipe actually makes a fabulous dipping sauce if you omit the vinegar.

The Global Village

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In my last Ireland-related post, entitled Ireland, I wrote about my food experiences during my 2 1/2 week trip throughout the Emerald Isle. I noticed the trend towards fresher meals, the utilization of organic and locally-grown ingredients, and the overall gourmet-ing of the traditional Irish diet. Not that I’ve ever been to Ireland before this trip, but the cuisine of Ireland never had much of a reputation, especially compared to, say, France and Italy.

But as a result of these progressive changes that obviously had occurred in the last couple of decades, my husband and I were treated to some Michelin-star worthy restaurant meals. Of course that didn’t stop me from the traditional Irish breakfast and my favorite – fish and chips. But it’s nice to have options, as well, when you’re traveling around. And with the glorious ingredients Ireland has to offer, from the vast array of fresh seafood to the multitude of artisanal cow and sheep cheeses, we were afforded unique opportunities for exceptional dining.

Case in point. In Dingle, an adorable community in western Ireland on Dingle Bay, there is an unassuming little restaurant called The Global Village. My husband and I went there for dinner, and had no idea that we were in for a culinary surprise.

The Global Village, which opened in 1997, is owned by chef Martin Bealin and partner Nuala Cassidy. From the restaurant’s website: “The restaurant board displays the local provenance; fresh fish from inshore local fisherman, fresh meat from farmers who operate a sustainable farming policy and the seasonal vegetables grown in the Global Village – chemical free vegetable garden run using biodynamic principles. The extensive wine list is complimented by a range of craft beers.”

Here is a photo of Nuala, who runs the front of the house with a smile:

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It was a Saturday night, and fortunately we’d made reservations, as was suggested to us. Dingle, which attracts tourists partially because it’s one of the many live music towns in Ireland, gets quite busy on weekends.

I ordered the crab “trio” for my starter. It was beautifully presented. But presentation doesn’t get me all excited. The food has to also taste good.

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Now this is all from memory, because when I begin a meal at a restaurant that I know is going to be life-changing, I feel as though I just came out of encampment… I lose my mind completely to whatever I’m eating. I forget to take notes, or to ask for a copy of the menu, if that’s possible. Nothing. It’s seriously like I haven’t eaten in a year. So I will simplify the description of this incredible crab starter, hopefully without upsetting the chef.

On the left is a warm crab bisque topped with crème fraiche. The middle is a light crab salad of sorts topped with a Parmesan sesame crisp. On the right, cold crab pâté, served with toast. I may not remember all of the details, but I know I ate everything. And I can’t remember what my husband ordered for his starter, because I didn’t care. Shame on me.

Then on to the main. I ordered the lamb. The plate included lamb sausage, lamb belly, lamb loin, and lamb liver, served over lentils, with a pommes anna sort of side and a little pitcher of red wine reduction. It was incredible.

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My husband had a medium-rare beef filet that was cooked to perfection. On the side were some parsley’d potato mash, braised white radishes, and a beef cheek croquette.

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Neither of us is a huge sweets eater, so we passed on what was probably a fabulous variety of desserts. But because of our enthusiasm for what was a 5-star meal in my book, we requested to meet the chef. And that we did! Here’s Chef Martin.

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He just probably thought we were a couple of crazy Americans, but he was extremely gracious, and accepted our praise of he and his partner’s fine dining establishment in the little town of Dingle. I hope they’re awarded with a Michelin star very soon.