Orange Vinaigrette with Spanish Olive Oil and Sherry Vinegar
I recently hosted a special dinner party to honor and thank some of my very best friends, the ones who came to Spain to help me while my husband was in ICU there, the group I’ve dubbed my hand-holders. I created a Spanish themed meal, with a giant paella as the main course, and figured this was the perfect meal to test out the Spanish olive oil I had been sent recently.To properly taste olive oil, you warm it in a small glass bowl or wine glass, then take a sip and sort of “hough” it to the back of your throat. If it’s quality oil, it should cause you to cough a bit and shouldn’t taste greasy. I found this oil pleasant, a bit more mild than some of the extra virgin olive oils I’m used to tasting from southern Italy, with just a hint of peppery bite at the end – in other words, a perfect oil for my dinner party.I knew I was going to use oranges in the meal I was preparing, so I went ahead and tested all of the oranges, using a vegetable peeler for large strips for the cocktails, and a zester tool for thin strips for the salad dressing.You can place the orange peels into the cocktail glasses on a nice serving tray before your guests arrive, making it easy to serve a welcome drink as soon as they get settled.
While in Madrid I had tasted the high quality Spanish vermouth at the Mercado, and created a cocktail of Spanish vermouth with a strip of orange peel and just a splash of Cava, served over ice (which we added right as guests came in) – it was a fabulous welcome drink for a Spanish dinner party.I chopped up the rest of the zest and combined it with the olive oil and some sherry vinegar for the salad dressing. Make it in a tall container like this so you can easily insert a stick blender to emulsify it.Or just combine all of the ingredients in the blender until smooth. I tossed simple greens with this vinaigrette, and topped the salad with some orange segments and thinly sliced red onion. Served with the paella and some great bread (which of course we dipped in the olive oil), it was the perfect Spanish meal.
You’ll find information about the Spanish olive oil that’s being produced by an American company at their website, iloveaceite.com/us/.
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or yellow)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Sherry vinegar, to taste
- Combine all of the ingredients except the vinegar in a tall container or the blender and start by adding about 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Blend until well emulsified and then taste of a piece of lettuce. If desired, add more vinegar until you achieve the balance between oil and vinegar that suits you.