Friday, January 1, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Leftover Champagne Vinaigrette

This post was named
a Foodbuzz Top 9 Pick.
Thank you, Foodbuzz!
~Cleo Coyle

Got Leftover Champagne?Waste not, I say…

So the countdown is toast, the ball has dropped, and the last of the champagne has gone flat. You know the stuff I’m talking about, the dregs in that bottle sitting in your fridge.

Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t pour that sad, fizzless liquid down the drain. Do what I do every New Year’s week. Use it to make champagne vinaigrette.

Yes, I know, champagne vinaigrette is typically made with champagne vinegar, but my version is a nice alternative for frugality and fun. My vinaigrette is light, bright, refreshing, and the delicate flavor of champagne comes through very nicely, too.

A fresh salad is also an especially intelligent way to start off the New Year. Why? Lettuce is mostly water and hydrating will help set your body right after an evening imbimbing to excess (aka attempting to pickle yourself).

My amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, actually received this same advice from her
ex-husband, Matt, a guy highly skilled
in the art of party survival.
To learn more about my mysteries,
click here or on the book cover.

Got a hangover? My in-house editor Mr. Fellows says:
"Drink lots of water. Hydrate with salad. Even better, dress those crisp,
healthy, greens with a hair of the cat that bit you..."

Cleo Coyle’s Leftover
Champagne Vina

Servings: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons of dressing, enough to dress an average salad for two people.

2 tablespoons champagne (fresh or leftover)1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon white rice vinegar (or white or cider vinegar or lemon juice)1 clove garlic sliced into big pieces (optional)
Combine all ingredients (but the garlic) in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork. Add the garlic and let stand 15 minutes (this optional step will impart a light garlic flavor). Remove all of the raw garlic. Whisk again with fork and pour dressing over your favorite salad. The salad you see pictured is one I often make: romaine lettuce and mixed greens, grape tomatoes sliced in two, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.

*CLEO'S FINAL TIPS: Oil: the oil flavor really shines through in this vinaigrette so choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Salt: sea salt and Kosher salt are much better choices than table salt for flavor. Pepper: I often use black pepper or a pepper mix for this dressing, but if you want a really nice presentation, use white pepper. Grinding it fresh always gives you better flavor. Vinegar: I like white rice vinegar for this dressing, but any white vinegar will impart that needed note of astringent brightness, which will balance the sweetness of the champagne. If you don’t have any white vinegars on hand, use lemon juice to taste. I would not recommend red or balsamic vinegar for this vinairgrette. Not only will those darker, heavier vinegars overpower the delicate champagne flavor, they will change the dressing’s color and defeat the culinary concept. (Then again, if you’re hung over, snow is piling up outside, and it’s all you’ve got on hand, go for it!)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

You can get more of my recipes
at my virtual home...

"Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

National Hardcover
Mystery Bestseller

National Bestseller

Now in paperback.

Click here
or on book covers to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.

"Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle, a new addition to the coffeehouse mystery series…adds in jolts of souped-up coffee, sweet cooking…and super sleuthing to deliver a fun and gripping fa-la-la-la latte surprise."

~ The Huffington Post

Text and photos in this post are copyright (c) 2010 by Alice Alfonsi
who writes The Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cleo Coyle
with her husband, Marc Cerasini


  1. That sounds truly refreshing! Great way to start the New Year. Thanks, Cleo!

  2. I wish you have an excellent year...

  3. Reply to

    * Caveman Cooking - Thank you, Caveman! I'm flattered that you stepped away from your primeval fire to leave a comment. LOL! :)

    * dokuzuncubulut - Thank you! And Happy New Year to you, too!

    ~ Cleo

  4. What a great idea, Cleo! I never would have thought of champagne in a vinaigrette. And we all probably need to be putting more salads on our menus after all the heavy food for the holidays! Happy New Year!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Perfect. But this means there has to be champagne left over, right? Tee-hee. Love Mr. Fellows.

  6. This recipe looks great. Had a bit of champagne left this morning, but drank it :-/ What better reason to buy more.

  7. Leave it to you, Cleo to come up with such a brilliant use for leftover Champagne. This is great. So fun and fresh and different. I appreciate the extra hints and tips, too. Thanks!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!


  8. I'm a huge salad eater and love this post! In fact I got two gorgeous salad bowls for Christmas that have already been getting great use, and now I have another recipe for them. Thank you!

  9. This one sounds delicious!I say it is a keeper :)

  10. Hair of the cat? LOL! Yeah, I've had
    that -- thankfully, not today. Great post
    -- great idea!

  11. Replies to –

    * Riley – Right you are about the salads on the menu. Soups, too. Time to do a little compensating for all that great holiday feasting.

    * Avery – I'm so glad you enjoyed meeting Mr. Fellows! As an in-house editor, he’s fairly useful. When he takes a nap on my manuscript, for instance, I always make a note what chapter put him to sleep and rewrite accordingly. :)

    * Vannie – LOL on having that morning-after mimosa (with or without the orange juice)! Thanks for dropping by Hot and Spice girl. Happy New Year!

    * Julie – Thank you, Julie. I’m bucking for the frugal gourmet title on this one – but it’s probably a function of my “good to the last drop” coffee philosophy.

    * Jessica – Gourmet Girl is in the House! And I’m really looking forward to your Sunday post. :)

    * Viviane – Lovely note! Thank you for dropping by our virtual kitchen. Here's to more good FB cookin' in the New Year!

    * Jenn – On the hair of the cat: I too am glad to report that I am able to type a straight line this morning. (But I HAVE had my morning-afters…Oy.) LOL!

    ~ Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  12. Yum I love champagne vinaigrette!! Happy New Year!

  13. Reply to Kris:

    A hearty Happy New Year to you, too! Thank you for dropping by.

    ~ Cleo

  14. Great idea, Cleo -- but I'm going to have to open a fresh bottle of champagne for this. Hmm, will have to drink the rest, I guess . . .

    Happy New Year!

    ~ Krista

  15. Oooh, salad with a potential buzz, LOL! Now if only I had some leftover champagne ...

  16. great fun post, a wonderful photo of your cat but I am confused about anyone having left over champagne... How is that possible???

  17. Terrific post, I can't wait to try your vinaigrette. Happy New Year!

  18. Beautiful! I can't wait to try it.

  19. Unfortunately, I never seem to have leftover champagne! Happy New Year!

  20. Ack, Cleo! I sent you my post yesterday afternoon and just got your email that it didn't go through... I resent it just now, but let me know if have another address I should use!

  21. Replies to: Krista, Janel, “A Year on the Grill,” Mother Rimmy, MP, Bromography...

    Definitely a running theme here. Champagne is loved a little too much to have any leftover, LOL! That's okay, this vinaigrette is the perfect excuse to buy a new split and keep it in the fridge for your next "dinner salad" - and, hey, since the bottle is open already, you may as well make it a champagne dinner, right?!

    ~ Cleo

    P.S. To Jessica - All is well! I received you e-mail and your fabulous post is going up on Sunday. Cheers!

  22. Hmm, hair-of-the-dog salad dressing, I love it!

  23. Great idea. But I never have "leftover" champagne in my house. Alas, I'll just have to open a new bottle. Happy 2010 everyone!

  24. Replies to -

    @pegasuslegend - Thank you - I love your posts and that means a lot to me!

    @Tasty Trix - "hair-of-the-dog" it is...although in my house, it's most definitely "hair-of-the-cat" burp-meow! Happy New Year, Tasty!

    @Rene Lynch - The sacrifices we make for our recipes know no bounds. Opening yet another bottle of champagne. How can we bear it! Happy 2010 to you, as well! :)

    ~ Cleo
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  25. Two words I have never uttered together, leftover and champagne.

  26. Hey, Cleo, congrats on the FBZ Top 9 with this! #1 right now ... you know I buzzed it!! ;)

  27. Replies to -

    @John D. - I hear you! And my recipe is a great excuse for opening a brand new bottle! LOL!

    @Cavemen Cooking - you are the sweetest! Thank you!