It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of vinegar -- I have no fewer than 10 varieties in my pantry at any given time, mostly to make salad dressings and as a shortcut to flavorful sauces. Now I'm in love with a new vinegar: A L'Olivier fruit vinegars, recently named the 2009 Outstanding Product Line by the National Association for Specialty Food Trade. I got a sample of the passion fruit vinegar, and I've never tasted any vinegar quite like it; it's thick, complex, rich, sweet and tangy all at once. I used it in a simple salad dressing with extra-virgin olive oil and salt, and it was fabulous. Other L'Olivier fruit vinegar flavors include fig (yum, try it on cheese), raspberry, mango, tomato, black currant, and esplette pepper. It's pricey -- $16 per bottle -- but you only use a little bit at a time, and the flavor boost makes it worth it (or makes it a great gift). Look for it in gourmet food stores or on igourmet.com. Here's an EASY recipe from A L'Olivier:
Warm Passion Fruit Vinaigrette on Seared Salmon
4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons minced shallot (1 large)
4 tablespoons passion fruit vinegar (if you must, you could substitute good-quality wine vinegar mixed with fruit puree or marmalade)
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups mixed greens
1. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add salmon and cook about 4 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
2. Return skillet to low heat; add 1/2 tablespoon butter and shallots. Cook, stirring, until golden, 1-2 minutes. Add passion fruit vinegar, mustard, honey, white wine vinegar, and wine. Raise heat to high; cook until reduced and thick enough to coat a spoon, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in remaining butter. Divide greens and place salmon on top; drizzle with sauce.