Thursday, June 21, 2012

Basic Vinaigrette

Salad dressing mixer made by Pampered Chef

Vinaigrettes are simple to make, and all you really need to know is the 3:1 ratio. This is the ratio of the amount of oil to vinegar.  (I remember it as 'oil' has three letters in it)

Because vinaigrettes are made from so few ingredients, however, the quality of each ingredient is very important, as it contributes much of the flavor .  On P10 we try to stay away from too much vinegar, but you could also use lemon juice in place of the vinegar and still have a great dressing. 

I like to use my salad dressing mixer from Pampered Chef because as you might be able to see in the picture, it actually lists the amounts/levels of each ingredient in your dressing and it has the different kinds of dressings listed all around the container.

Vinaigrette is easy to prepare and store. You can make a batch a day before you need it and keep it in the refrigerator. You should add only a few garlic and shallots since the flavors usually become stronger as time passes by.

This would not only be good over greens, but also on Roasted Veggies or as a marinade or topping for chicken or fish.  The same thing you used to use the fake plastic salad dressings for...

Basic Vinaigrette
makes 16 servings (1 tbsp each)
For best results, all your ingredients should be at room temperature when you begin

3 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (balsamic, raspberry, cider, lemon juice)

1 clove of crushed garlic

kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of minced shallots
Herbs, freshly chopped


The most effective way of combining the oil and the vinegar is in a blender. If you don't have a blender, you can combine everything in a glass bowl and just whisk them together thoroughly.  You could even seal the ingredients in a clean glass jar or bottle and shake to combine.

First place the salt and pepper in the container together with the vinegar, then mix them thoroughly. This allows the salt to dissolve in the vinegar, as it does not do so in oil. Once this is done, you can mix in the oil, and your basic sauce vinaigrette is complete.

Once you've mixed things up, it's nice to let the flavors meld for a while, especially when you go beyond the basic formula and introduce additional ingredients like minced onion, garlic, herbs and so on.  Ideally, then, you'd prepare the vinaigrette in advance and then let it sit for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.   Just don't refrigerate it during this time.

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