Oil and vinegar work supremely well in cooking together because of the strength of their individual flavours. Many rich dishes, in French cuisine, rely on the use of butter, cream, rich meat stock as the base and wine or vinegar to balance the fat content. Oil and vinegar work in much the same way by taking on the rich flavours but alleviating the fat content.
Dishes that usually include oil and vinegar have similar ingredients. Oil and vinegar bring both flavour and a sweet acidity respectively. The acidity of sherry vinegar can be substituted for rice wine and produces the appropriate flavour in the recipe for Chinese hot and sour chicken. To create the heat in this dish a little oil flavoured with chilli is added at the end.
Both oil and vinegar can assimilate the flavour of the ingredients they come into contact with. Vinegar can enhance the natural flavour of whatever food it is combined because of its acidity, and vegetable oil carries and takes on the individual flavours of food. A very good example of how vinegar enforces another ingredients natural flavour is the recipe for beets with fennel and fromage blanc. In this case beets are marinated in champagne vinegar and then tossed in walnut oil. The bitterness of the oil complements the sweet flavours of the fruit and by adding some toasted walnuts the nut flavour of the oil is accentuated. The action of the vinegar neutralizes some of the natural sweetness of the beets whilst bringing out the other flavours which were previously overwhelmed.
By using oil and vinegar in your cooking you are getting all the flavour but none of the harmful saturated fat. This is excellent news for those who have health issues relating to high blood pressure and cholesterol. Most fats are rich in saturated fats which have a detrimental effect on people that suffer from high cholesterol. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, make an ideal alternative as they contain less saturated and more polyunsaturated fats than oil derived from animals. If high cholesterol is a health issue for you it may be time to substitute animal oils and dairy products such as butter for the wonderful flavour of extra virgin olive oil. If creating a sauce that usually requires butter, for example a beurre blanc for salmon, try instead a fat free alternative by creating a chicken and balsamic vinegar reduction. This sauce works perfectly with the richness of the fish and the fruit flavour of the balsamic based sauce.
When cooking pork chops you may like to consider brine made from apple cider vinegar. This dish is very simple to make and the brine from the vinegar ensures that the pork remains very moist. To prepare this dish you only have to broil the pork chops. To finish, serve with a little olive oil and delicious juicy apples. You may have a wealth of condiments, herbs and spices in your pantry cupboards but a superior quality oil or vinegar can make their use redundant in some recipes and very little else is called for to add flavour.
[tag] oil and vinegar, classic oil and vinegar flavor[/tag[