How To Make A Vinaigrette

April 21, 2014 | How To's Recipes Sides & Sauces Soups & Salads

Vinaigrettes are one of my favorite salad dressings.  I love their tangy flavor, and the number of ingredient combinations they can have, creating dozens of different flavor profiles.

What I also love about vinaigrettes is they are one of the easiest dressings to make, with the basic ingredients being oil and vinegar (typically at a three to one ratio — oil to vinegar), I can control what ingredients are going into my vinaigrette (no additives or preservatives), and I personally prefer the taste of my homemade dressing over anything store-bought.

Like mayonnaise and Hollandaise, a vinaigrette is an emulsion (meaning, successfully mixing two things together that do not ordinarily mix), so there is a little bit of finesse and patience involved when making a vinaigrette.  But the result is a dressing with a beautifully creamy and velvety texture, with a fresh and tangy aroma.

The recipe here is based off a French vinaigrette (which normally uses minced garlic and shallots, here I use granulated garlic and onion for convenience), and has a close resemblance to a champagne dressing.  The oil I typically like to use is  pure olive oil (which is has a very toned down olive flavor versus the bold flavor of extra virgin olive oil), with white wine vinegar.  But you can get creative with your vinaigrette ingredients depending on your taste and meal you are preparing: use lemon juice instead of vinegar, play around with infused oils, throw in some minced capers or fresh herbs like dill or tarragon, or even switch up the vinegars and try apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.  There are really endless possibilities for ingredients that you can utilize to add a personal touch and flavor to your vinaigrette.

Recipe

Makes approximately 1/2 cup

What You Will Need

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 fl. oz. vinegar (I use white wine vinegar)
1 tsp granulated sugar (you can use honey or agave, if you prefer)
Pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper
Dash of granulated onion and granulated garlic
1/4 – 1/3 cup of a neutrally flavored oil (I use pure olive oil)

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, sugar, and spices, until combined.  To add in the oil, start by adding a couple of drops at a time while whisking.  After doing this a few times, slowly start to add more oil in spurts in a thin stream (also while whisking).  When the dressing starts to take on a slightly creamier texture, you can continue to add the oil continuously in a thin stream (while whisking) until all of the oil has been used.  Taste the dressing, and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Vinaigrettes are best when served at room temperature, so either use it right away, or if you are going to store your dressing in the fridge for later use, be sure to remove it from the fridge thirty to sixty minutes before serving it; this brings out all of the vibrant flavors and also makes for a runnier dressing.  You can store the vinaigrette in an airtight container for up to three days.

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