Last Monday, Chef David Bazirgan of Dirty Habit Bar and Restaurant joined us at San Francisco Cooking School. This talented chef started in a kitchen as a dishwasher when he was thirteen years old in a seaport town in Massachusetts, and his cooking career has grown from there.
Chef David taught our students at Larkin Street Youth Services all about vinaigrettes, and we learned how to make three different dressings to pair with three tasty dishes. He says that vinaigrettes are a great way to work on flavor balance, and we agree that knowing how to make a well-seasoned vinaigrette is one of the most useful basic kitchen skills to have.
A vinaigrette is a sauce made by mixing one part vinegar to three parts oil. Mustard, raw egg, or honey are added to form an emulsion in which oil is suspended in the vinegar, and other ingredients flavor the vinaigrette. It can used as a dressing or sauce, and also as a marinade.
To make a vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar and other ingredients and slowly add oil, whisking until mixture is uniform and emulsified. You may also shake all ingredients in a jar or whirl them in a blender. The possibilities and flavor combinations (sweet, sour, salty, fat, and even bitter) are endless!
Chef David taught us how to make three vinaigrettes: horseradish dressing, cider vinaigrette, and soy vinaigrette.
180 grams grated fresh horseradish root
10 grams grated Parmesan cheese
42 grams champagne vinegar
10 grams lemon juice
125 grams extra virgin olive oil
5 grams black pepper
25 grams Worcestershire sauce
salt and additional pepper to taste
This is Chef David’s take on a Caesar salad. We tossed the horseradish dressing with little gem lettuce leaves, slow-roasted beets, and Buddha’s hand citrus pieces, topped with grated fresh horseradish. This dressing can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.
12o grams cider vinegar
200 grams extra virgin olive oil
5 grams apple glaze (reduce apple juice to a syrup)
125 grams grapeseed oil
30 grams whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Reduced apple juice (aka apple syrup, used in this recipe) is a really nice ingredient to add to fall dishes. We dressed watercress, persimmon, green apple, spiced nuts, and fennel with this vinaigrette for a delicious autumn treat. Cider vinaigrette can be kept in the refrigerator for months.
150 grams soy sauce
75 grams Meyer lemon juice
30 grams sesame oil
110 grams grapeseed oil
Soy vinaigrette is great on fresh raw fish. Chef David deboned a whole snapper during class for this dish and topped with jalapeno. Vinaigrette lasts in the fridge for months – taste first to see if lemon has gone flat.
Thank you, Chef David Bazirgan, for a great class and delicious meal!