I am always looking for ways to use up what might otherwise go to waste in my kitchen, attempting to up-cycle small amounts of leftover ingredients and reinvent them in ways that complement or round out my next family meal. It's a silly little kitchen game I play with myself and I always feel like a winner when I end up with something clever and fancy. Well, making French mustard vinaigrette with the little, grainy bits of mustard that cling for dear life to the sides and bottom of the mustard jar and would otherwise be rinsed down the drain is certainly nothing new. To be sure, efficient French housewives have been practicing this yummy culinary trick for ages, but I still feel like a super resourceful cook when I "saisir l'occasion" and follow in their time honored and well dressed footsteps. Plus, this is such a brainy kitchen tip, it stands regular repeating and reminding. Besides, what could possibly be more classy than making something absolutely fabulous from practically nothing? I like to doll my version up with a few savory nutritional food additives for good measure. This dressing technique has the added benefit of being super fast to make since you just simply add all the ingredients to the practically empty mustard jar and shake, shake, shake your dressing to combine. It helps the finished product if you choose to stock your pantry with nice quality mustards. Bottled dressing is full of nasty oils your not supposed to be consuming, strange sounding multisyllabic food additives, chemical preservatives, Gluten (which for some in my household is equivalent to poison) and it's stupid expensive to boot, so don't be afraid to just go all French dressing on everyone's ass and DIY with quality ingredients from scratch at home.
The following recipe yields approximately 1/2 cup of dressing which can be easily doubled or tripled used on all your fabulous Spring greens, shredded slaws, steamed vegetables (I love this on fresh asparagus and with wild salmon), whole grain and pasta salads, to soak bread in or spread onto sandwiches, as a marinade for proteins or for any of your other dressing needs. It will keep in the fridge for a good long while.
repurposed French mustard vinaigrette (with a few savory, non-traditional & nutritionally beneficial additives)
1 almost empty mustard jar with a nice tight fitting lid
to that add the following...
1/4 cup vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and red wine, but champagne or a little balsamic might be nice. You could also experiment with adding Ume plum or some other far flung vinegar you might have laying around collecting dust in the pantry)
1/2 cup local extra virgin olive oil, preferably raw and unfiltered
1 teaspoon finely minced shallot, garlic, red onion or chive
1 teaspoon finely minced turmeric root (used dried, ground Turmeric if you can't find any fresh at your local Asian market. Turmeric is full of curcumin which is not only tasty but also a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting foodstuff.)
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh or dried herbs, I like some combination of French tarragon, lemon thyme, parsley, dill, oregano or chervil in this dressing...visit the page below for extra herbal inspiration...
a healthy squirt of lemon juice, about a tablespoon
a hearty squirt of Braggs liquid aminos, about a tablespoon
1 tablespoon brewers yeast
1 teaspoon gray, pink or sea salt with it's essential minerals
freshly ground pepper to taste, a goodly but not ungodly amount.
a bit of prepared horseradish if your so inclined...or
a pinch of chile flakes or a dash of hot sauce if you like it like that!
Now just put the lid back on the jar nice and tight (cover it with a towel if your suspicious of the seal), and you know what to do. Shake, shake, shake...shake your dressing...on the kitchen floor...make sure to incorporate all the mustard that is no doubt still stubbornly sticking to the side of the jar. You could certainly experiment with this basic formula and create all kinds of interesting fusiony combinations by swapping out ingredients here, in fact, really there is absolutely nothing to stop you from replacing the lemon with other citrus juices, foregoing the liquid aminos for tamari, worcestershire or hoisin, adding a little miso or fish sauce instead of the salt, changing up the EVO oil with sesame, walnut or avocado oil, substituting finely minced ginger for the turmeric or switching up the herbs a hundred different ways. You could even add raspberries or sun-dried tomatoes to this. The sky is the limit and once the basic principle is understood you can really get jiggy with it.
o.k. enough already...in the words of Tracy Ullman...go home...and Julia Child respectively, Bon APPETIT!