Making your own salad dressing is easy and far superior to anything you can buy. Other than oil and vinegar drizzled over a salad, vinaigrettes are the most basic of dressings.Vinaigrettes are an emulsion of oil and a liquid, typically an acid. The acid component is usually vinegar, but can also be fruit juice, wine, or water mixed with the acid element to soften the flavor.
The hardest thing about making vinaigrette is the proper emulsification of the two elements so they stay bound together. Just remember to add your oil very slowly and whisk vigorously. Using a blender or a small electric wand immersion mixer is a definite help. Also, using a bigger whisk with more wires is helpful, too.
Basic Vinaigrette Recipe
Use 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar.
Season vinegar with herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, or miso and allow ingredients to infuse five minutes or more. Whisk in the oil while pouring in a thin, slow stream. This is emulsification at work. Put your work bowl in a towel that has been twisted into a ring or nest shape. This will hold the bowl steady while you whisk and pour. The dressing is done when you have the right flavor and consistency, and this will depend on your own taste.
- Use lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juices in place of vinegar, or mix juice and vinegar.
- If the vinegar is strong, cut it with water or herb tea.
- Using mayonnaise, mustard, miso, or yogurt will add flavor and yield a thicker, creamier consistency. If using mayonnaise or yogurt, omit some of the oil and substitute an equal amount of the former. Since some yogurts are thicker than others, add it slowly, a little at a time.
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