How to Make a Vinaigrette
Knowing how to make a vinaigrette is a handy skill for adding a little extra life into tired meals. It’s something that can be made on a whim with pantry staples, and it tastes much better and fresher (and is cheaper) than bottled dressing. This how to shows you the basics.
1- Use one part vinegar to three parts oil, although if you substitute something less acidic like lemon juice for the vinegar, you’ll want to lessen the oil accordingly. As with anything else, you’ll get the best results if you use the highest quality ingredients.
2- Dissolve salt in vinegar. Though you can season the dressing at the end, the salt will dissolve more readily directly in the vinegar.
3- Add Dijon mustard. Add a small amount of Dijon mustard, which acts as an emulsifying agent, binding together the oil and vinegar. Whisk in the mustard until well combined.
4- Pour in the oil with one hand and whisk with the other. To that end, it’s important that the bowl sit stationary on the counter. If you don’t have a rubber-bottomed bowl, you can shape a towel in a ring around the bottom of the bowl to provide traction. Whisk constantly, until the dressing is blended and emulsified.
5- Season to taste. If desired you can season with pepper or more salt, to taste.
Experiment with this basic vinaigrette by changing the type of oil or vinegar, or by enhancing the dressing with other ingredients like herbs, garlic, shallots or citrus zest. It can be tossed with salad greens, or drizzled over grilled vegetables, pasta salad, fish or meat to finish a dish.