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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Asian Orange Ginger Vinaigrette


I’ve paired the Orange Ginger Vinaigrette with fresh tomatoes from my garden – the tomatoes are going absolutely nuts right now here in my Florida garden.

A few weeks ago, I bought a bottle of Asian Orange Ginger Salad Dressing and after only one use, it sat in the back of the refrigerator looking a little sad and rejected. I guess I was expecting so much more from the words, “orange” and “ginger” on the label – words that provoke an immediate emotional and sensory response in me: fresh, zingy, clean and tingly from the heat of the ginger.

Unfortunately for the maker of the dressing, who shall remain unnamed in this little rant, the dressing was overly sweet with a fake candy-like orange flavor and there was no hint of ginger whatsoever.

I should have known better than to buy the bottle in the first place. Making my own salad dressing only takes 10 minutes and I always have the ingredients on hand in the kitchen.

To me, making dressing is all about balance of flavor: lively and tangy, slightly sweet, a little heat and just enough sea salt to bring out all of the flavor notes.

In Asian-style dressing, tangy comes from sweetened or seasoned rice vinegar (see photos above of Mitsukan rice vinegars)  – which is vinegar made from rice and seasoned with just a bit of sugar. You can also used unsweetened or unseasoned rice vinegar too. I always have both on in my pantry.

As for the slightly sweet, I love using a bit of honey to balance out the vinegar. The oil I use for Asian dressings is neutral flavored light vegetable oil – olive oil is too strong in flavor. I’ve also used grapeseed oil and rice oil.

Freshly grated ginger provides the heat, no need to even peel the ginger, unless the brown outer skin is dry and thick. Use a rasp or microplane grater and go at it until you have about 1 teaspoon.

The fruit in the dressing is flexible – use any citrus: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, blood orange or go a little more exotic with passion fruit (cut in half spoon out fruit only).

In this photo, I’ve paired the Orange Ginger Vinaigrette with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil – just to change up the normal caprese salad into something more lively.

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Asian Orange Ginger Vinaigrette

Servings: serves 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes
Orange Ginger Vinaigrette Recipe

Making dressing is all about balance of flavor: lively and tangy, slightly sweet, a little heat and just enough sea salt to bring out all of the flavor notes.The fruit in the dressing is flexible – use any citrus: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, blood orange or go a little more exotic with passion fruit (cut in half spoon out fruit only).

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice from ½ large orange
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (I prefer Mitsukan brand)
1 teaspoon honey
sea salt to taste
¼ cup light vegetable oil

Directions:

Whisk together all of the ingredients.

*I’ve developed this recipe for a client, Mitsukan, the maker of rice vinegar shown above.



25 Responses to “Asian Orange Ginger Vinaigrette”

  1. Jessica — 1/3/12 @ 2:55 pm

    The boys must be going crazy picking all those gorgeous tomatoes! The green stripped one is so beautiful. I just want to dive into the middle of all that freshness!!

  2. Nan — 1/3/12 @ 3:08 pm

    I sure hope you can protect them tonight. I live just a few miles south of you. I guess this cold snap is the price we pay for such lovely weather over Christmas.

  3. Deanna — 1/3/12 @ 3:36 pm

    I’m always buying salad dressing and I don’t know why I do it. They never live up to my expectations, or store bought dressing. The only dressing I never buy is Caesar, I just have to banish picky eaters from the room when I make it. I wish I still had tomatoes. Its 80 degrees out, but all of our tomatoes died 2 months ago.

  4. Bev Weidner — 1/3/12 @ 4:20 pm

    I’m: a) really jealous of your tomatoes right now, b) would love to open my mouth and have you drizzle that down my throat and c) really jealous of your tomatoes right now.

  5. Carin — 1/3/12 @ 6:02 pm

    Hi Jaden, this sounds delicious. My problem is that in the past when I made a dressing with orange zest, the zest made the dressing very bitter. Is there any way to avoid this?

    Thanks! I’m also freezing down here in South Florida today!

  6. Chris — 1/3/12 @ 8:57 pm

    It also sounds like this would be a mouthwatering marinade for grilled chicken.

  7. Wendy O — 1/4/12 @ 12:11 pm

    I love that salad dressing. I am so happy you gave the recipe for it. I only wish I had your tomatoes. They look gorgeous and are making my mouth water. Living in Syracuse, New York I won’t see a tomato like that until August. The ones in the store right now are just impostors. I will still make your dressing on put on a salad with beets. Got to get some color in with all our white snow.

  8. Miranda — 1/4/12 @ 1:40 pm

    I am always looking for new staple dressings – seems like I end up making the same ones. Pinning this one to keep. Your tomatoes look fabulous!

  9. JulieD — 1/4/12 @ 2:45 pm

    Those tomatoes are gorgeous!!! Wonderful dressing, Jaden! Hope you’re staying warm!!

  10. Lauren — 1/4/12 @ 4:48 pm

    As if you have access to those gorgeous tomatoes in January! #jealous

  11. Elena — 1/6/12 @ 1:26 am

    Great recipe. Deliciuos. and liked the tomatos. I hope I can find them here in my area

  12. Jeanette — 1/6/12 @ 12:57 pm

    Your tomatoes look gorgeous – I am so missing my summer tomatoes and jealous of the warm weather down south! Love how light and bright this vinaigrette is. Now that I make my own dressing, I rarely buy any from the store. Fresh citrus (Meyer lemons and oranges) are my favorites in vinaigrettes.

  13. Soyon — 1/6/12 @ 1:13 pm

    Wow, the tomato looks gorgeous! As I’ve gotten older, my taste buds seem to have changed and I started liking bottled dressing less and less. Then I realized that making dressing is easy and I’ve never turned back. At a pinch, I rather throw in some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper than use bottled dressing!

  14. That is one shiny spoon. ;)

    Gorgeous photo!

  15. Norma Chang — 1/6/12 @ 5:03 pm

    I will have to wait a while to harvest garden fresh tomatoes. Our temp was 8 degrees on Tuesday night. I agree, home meade salad dressing is the way to go.

  16. Raymond — 1/11/12 @ 1:45 pm

    Too much zest and or white of the zest. The white is very bitter so use only the orange part.

  17. Carin — 1/12/12 @ 8:48 am

    Thanks Raymond, I was careful not to get any of the white, but I’ll try using less zest next time!

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  21. Birte Harley — 10/24/13 @ 6:41 pm

    Thank you so much for this excellent dressing. I used it over cubed sweet potatoes, snap peas, dried cranberries and toasted pecans. It really made it so delicious.

    Thank you, Birte

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