REVISITING VINAIGRETTE

Posted: Apr 08 2015

 

Absolutely everyone should know how to make vinaigrette. Take it step-by-step the first go, starting with a traditional recipe, and you'll have the foundation for a lifetime of dressings. Applications are endless; use with hot or cold dishes, tossed with salads or roasted vegetables, brushed over grilled meat and fish, or stirred into sauces and soups.

Do you really need a recipe for vinaigrette? Perhaps not, but a refresher often inspires new ideas for combinations and interesting uses or flavor direction. We use some variation of this recipe almost everyday, simply varying the acid-fat components and any add-ins. A balance of 2-parts olive oil (or your choice fat, maybe a nut or grapeseed oil) to one part acid (vinegar, wine, citrus juice, or a combination), and one part mustard is a good place to start, though a 3:1:1 ratio is closer to the classic French recipe.

Seasoning is crucial and should not be underestimated. Too little salt and your vinaigrette with taste flat and bland, too much and it can bring out the acidity and overpower the dressing. A sharp allium component is also typical, usually grated garlic, but minced shallot, scallion or onion will work as well. The ingredients can all be whisked together in a bowl until well-incorporated, but this is the perfect opportunity to use one of the many empty pickle and jam jars you likely have stashed in the cupboard. 

We used Extra Virgin Olive Oil from The Other Brother Co. for each of the following vinaigrette recipes. The smooth, young, buttery flavors strike a nice assertive balance without being too grassy or bitter.

The recipe ratios outlined below are designed to dress 2 dinner-size salads. They are easy to scale up and while double or triple batches keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator (and save time), they do benefit from freshness. 

Classic Vinaigrette

The simplicity of this recipe should not downplay it's importance in your cooking repertoire.  Think of it as a flavor enhancer, rather than a dressing for salad greens: marinate seafood, toss into pasta salad or stir into vegetable soups.

3 tbsp olive oil (best quality, finishing oil, or extra virgin)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsps Dijon or whole grain mustard (such as Pantry House Goods)

1/4 tsp sea salt

a couple grinds of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar, replace the lid and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

 

Creamy Herb Vinaigrette 

Ideal with steamed artichokes, fish, or roasted potatoes this tangy, yet smooth vinaigrette should strike a balance between the richness of a dairy base, pungency of the fresh herbs, and the acidity of the white wine vinegar.

1 tbsp olive oil (best quality, finishing oil, or extra virgin)

3 tbsp yogurt or buttermilk

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced (or grated on a microplane)

1 tbsp minced fresh herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives, chervil, or tarragon)

1/4 tsp sea salt

a couple grinds of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar, replace the lid and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning. For a smoother consistency, use a stick blender, in which case you can add the herbs whole and blitz until emulsified.

 

Spiced Shallot-Honey Vinaigrette 

This dressing has a bit more kick to it -- here's where personal taste is key. Substitute in your preferred mix of spices, or swap in citrus zest or minced garlic for the ginger. Brush over meats, roasted vegetables, or mix into cooked, whole grain salads. 

3 tbsp olive oil (best quality, finishing oil, or extra virgin)

1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar

1 tsp honey (strong flavor varieties work best: alfalfa, mesquite, sage)

1 tsp minced shallot 

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar, replace the lid and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

 

 

Pin It

Comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing