101: vinaigrette

September 24th, 2012

This is for Sammi……….

Why anyone would buy bottled dressing is beyond me. Making a delicious homemade vinaigrette couldn’t be easier, and you cannot compare the two. Even the fancy expensive dressings often have added chemicals and stabilizers.

Xanthan gum?

Autolyzed yeast extract?

No thank you.

This is all you need to remember when making a vinaigrette:

Keep the ration of oil to acid 3:1. Of course this can vary (as you’ll see in the recipes below), but you’ll never go wrong if you remember this formula. And it can be as simple as 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Wanna get fancier? The sky’s the limit. Swap the vinegar for lemon juice, or the olive oil for safflower. Add a little honey, a minced garlic clove or some grainy mustard. And don’t forget salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper.

Emulsify. Oil and water don’t mix, right? Well neither do oil and vinegar – unless you emulsify. Which is less scary than it sounds. The key to emulsifying is to slowly and continually whisk in the oil after all of the other ingredients have been combined. It should almost be a “dribble” at first, increasing slowly and steadily. You’ll see that the oil blends in beautifully, with a perfectly mixed dressing as a result.

Here are two of my favorite vinaigrettes – one basic and one a little fancier (but just as simple to execute – promise!).

Basic Vinaigrette
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
¼ c. olive oil

Cider Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. minced shallot
1 T. honey
3 T. olive oil

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients except the olive oil. Slowly, and a little bit at a time, add the olive oil, whisking continuously. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt

Easy, right?

salad, vinaigrette

And look at these gorgeous greens – do they deserve anything less?

What’s your favorite vinaigrette?

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