Balsamic & Walnut Oil Dressing is great for salads with blue cheese. Walnut oil is very distinctive and can be blended with other oils to reduce its intensity.
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C walnut oil
2 t sweet mustard *
1 t garlic minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional) **
Mince garlic or use a garlic press.
Add ingredients to a salad dressing shaker and shake until emulsified. Taste to adjust seasoning. Oil can also be whisked in a deep bowl.
* If sweet mustard is not available, mix 2 tsp of Dijon mustard and 2 t sugar together,
** I like a little heat in my dressings, so I add pepper flakes.
Finding a Good Balsamic
Balsamic vinegars vary in degree of acidity and sweetness. Real balsamic is always barrel-aged. Authentic balsamic comes from the Modena region of Italy and may be very expensive.. However, it is possible to find affordable and great tasting balsamic.
I chose a moderate-priced balsamic for use in this salad dressing. I either select my balsamic dressings by tasting before buying or by using a resource such as Consumer Reports or Cooks Illustrated. Italian groceries and stores such as Williams Sonoma often have tastings, and it’s worth seeking out tastings to build the palate for different types of balsamic. Using the Internet for recent reviews such as New York Times, Bon Appetit, Americas Test Kitchen, or Amazon also works. If you are in California one country, many wineries also feature balsamics. Coscto also has a good balsamic under their Kirkland label.
Finally, there are traditional and white balsamic vinegars. White balsamic is lighter and has a slight sweetness. Happy hunting for your favorites.