Recipe of the Week: Vinaigrette 101
Homemade vinaigrette whisks up in a flash.
Homemade vinaigrette is a cinch to make. In its simplest form all it takes is a fat, typically an oil, and an acid, usually vinegar. The two are whisked until they are emulsified, or come together temporarily, to form a vinaigrette.
Making your own vinaigrette gives you control of the ingredients you and your family are consuming. There are no preservatives or mysterious multi-syllable ingredients when you whisk one up for yourself. In addition, homemade vinaigrette has much more flavor than their store-bought counterparts, so you’ll use less to dress your salads.
The basic vinaigrette formula consists of one part acid and three parts fat. You can adjust the ratio to suit your tastes and add additional ingredients to create more inventive flavors. For creamier dressings, mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream can be used as a fat, while citrus juice or flavored vinegars can be used as an acid. Add in fresh or dried herbs, diced shallots, onions or garlic for flavor or a pinch of honey or sugar for sweetness. Whisking in a teaspoon or so of dried or prepared mustard will add flavor and help your oil and vinegar remain emulsified longer.
If you make your vinaigrette ahead of time, which I recommend so the flavors have more time to blend together, be sure to re-whisk and test for seasonings before you serve. The oil and vinegar will separate if left to settle too long.
This recipe is my all-time favorite. It was the first vinaigrette I learned to prepare in cooking school and I love adding it to all kinds of salads. It also makes for an excellent marinade for chicken and steak. Store your vinaigrette in an air-tight container in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette
Makes about ½ cup.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk vinegar, honey, mustard and thyme together in a small bowl. Gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.