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Umami for Salad Dressing

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

So often I'll come across incredible vinaigrettes while eating a salad at a restaurant. I'll ask the staff what is in the dressing and usually they'll respond with some variation of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots, s/p. I make this type of dressing at home all the time and although it is delicious, it doesn't ever have that extra wow factor that I often experience when eating out.

I've been reading up on umami and some of the most common ingredients being tomato paste, anchovy paste, nutritional yeast, dried porcini mushrooms, fish sauce, parmesan cheese & truffles. I'm going to start experimenting with each of these, but thought I'd also turn to the boards and see if anyone has experience using these (or any other "secret" ingredient) in their dressings and/or a recipe they can share.

post #2 of 13
Anchovies
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13

This Umami thing is such a worship. I'm declaring myself an Umami atheist.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbnyc View Post
 

So often I'll come across incredible vinaigrettes while eating a salad at a restaurant. I'll ask the staff what is in the dressing and usually they'll respond with some variation of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots, s/p. I make this type of dressing at home all the time and although it is delicious, it doesn't ever have that extra wow factor that I often experience when eating out.

I've been reading up on umami and some of the most common ingredients being tomato paste, anchovy paste, nutritional yeast, dried porcini mushrooms, fish sauce, parmesan cheese & truffles. I'm going to start experimenting with each of these, but thought I'd also turn to the boards and see if anyone has experience using these (or any other "secret" ingredient) in their dressings and/or a recipe they can share.


You might try making your own version of a Japanese cucumber salad (Sunomono).  Experiment with ingrdients/flavors like minced onion, peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, white sugar, lemon juice, garlic, sesame seeds, s&p.

post #5 of 13

kjbnyc, wellcome to ChefTalk!

 

I'll give you my secret salad dressing on condition you never tell anyone else. In a salad dressing you would look for adding freshness and seasoning in the first place. Umami, I don't get that in a salad, but why not. All I know is that umami is not key to a good salad dressing, again, it's freshness, the sour component you will appreciate most.

 

My secret salad dressing;

- A few tbsp of good mayo preferably homemade. Add cold water, approx. 60-75% of the mayo you use. Take a whisk and beat gently until you get a nice, more or less fluid mass.

- Taste! You will need to add an acidic component like lemon juice, white vinegar or my preference, a tbsp. of tarragon vinegar (preferably homemade). Taste again; you will also need to add salt and pepper

- Taste! Optional; add any kind of finely cut fresh herbs like chives, parsley, tarragon, chervil (yummmm!).

- Optional but a must imo; add a very finely chopped small shallot (instead of onion).

- Taste again! Optional if you insist on umami; like phatch already suggested, add anchovies, finely cut or crushed in a mortar into a paste. In that case, easy on the salt!

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBelgium View Post
 

My secret salad dressing;

- A few tbsp of good mayo preferably homemade.

 

One of the perks in the mayo is that eggs contain glutamate that trigger the umami sensation.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 13

Oh, I didn't know that cheflayne... thanks!

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Anchovies

+1. An easy way to add anchovies to a salad dressing is to use Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce. 

 

Balsamic vinegar (or other vinegars) also give a dressing a different flavor profile. 

 

Different oils as well, like walnut, hazelnut oils etc...

post #9 of 13

Miso paste

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

This Umami thing is such a worship. I'm declaring myself an Umami atheist.


 



I'm joining this sect.
post #11 of 13

Yes on the anchovies. 

post #12 of 13

I'm big on miso and fish sauce.  The make lots of foods "pop".

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #13 of 13

I am really digging using Umami to its fullest. I have been working on some Umami powders and Umami caviar using spherification to give some of my vegan dishes and non vegan dishes a twist. I love to use fish sauce with different burger dishes it is a blast. 

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