This is the first in a series of basic videos on how to make your own vinaigrette salad dressing at home. The basics are simple: combine 1 part acid (balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, etc) with 1/3 part emulsifier (mustard, honey, mayonnaise, egg yolk), slowly whisk in 3 parts oil, then finish with any final ingredients such as shallots, blue cheese, fresh herbs, or crushed nuts.
You may be asking yourself ‘what is an emulsifier’? An emulsifier is an ingredient that bind a hydrophilic (water-friendly, like a vinegar) particle to a hydrophobic (water-repelling, like oil) particle together. This keeps the oil and vinegar from separating into two layers, making for an unevenly flavored salad, as well as having the oil gather on the bottom of your salad bowl and quickly wilt your greens. When you combine oil and water with an emulsifier and add force (whisking), the oil and water are joined together into a stable sauce.
When mixing the vinaigrette, there are three common methods: whisking, blending, and just shaking in a jar. Simply shaking the jar will give you the weakest emulsification, which will last long enough to dress and eat your salad, but will need to be shaken every time you use it. Whisking is the most common, as it will give you a solid emulsification which will last for a few hours, long enough to prep dinner and need, at the most, a quick shake before dressing the salad. Blending gives you an extremely stable emulsification, which will last up to a week without separating.
So, to sum up, our ratio is: 3 parts oil : 1 part acid, 1/3 part emulsifier, 1/2-1/4 part ‘extras’, a pinch of salt and pepper. Vary them to your heart’s content, confident in the knowledge that you’ll always end up with a workable dressing.
In this example, we add a little soy sauce as well for some umami and added depth of flavor, and use a combination of dijon mustard for the tang and honey for some sweetness, as well as shallots to bring a little sharp onion flavor in. Garlic would be a welcome addition, but make sure it’s minced fine.
Basic vinaigrette recipe
A how-to tutorial on making a basic vinaigrette.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 shallot minced
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil.
Slowly whisk in olive oil, stopping occasionally to make sure the oil is fully incorporated before adding more.