It’s Technique Tuesday again, and I thought I’d write a bit about something that I love doing now, but took way too long to start doing… making my own vinaigrette dressings. The basic formula is simple: 1 part vinegar to 3 or 4 parts oil, plus a little salt and some extra seasonings. What vinegar you use (balsamic, red wine, apple cider) doesn’t matter much, though I tend to use olive oil as my oil. If you want the vinaigrette to stay combined, rather than having to shake it constantly before using, you’ll need an emulsifier. Standard emulsifiers are mustard (dijon or whole gain work best), egg yolk, mayonnaise, and cream, though tomato paste and honey will also work. For those who are curious about the science behind this, oil and water (or vinegar, in this case) don’t like to mix. They do this by having one end of the molecule that is hydrophilic, or attractive to water, and the other which is hydrophobic, or attractive to oil. Thus they bring both the oil and water together and keep them there. The basic technique is to combine your vinegar and your emulsifier with other seasonings (in our case, roast garlic for the flavor, lemon juice for some tang, and a little honey to add some sweetness), mix them well (a blender works best, a bowl with a whisk work great too), and then slowly pour in your oil while whisking/blending constantly. This makes sure that all of your oil has a chance to properly bond with the emulsifier, and you end up with a dressing that stays emulsified for longer. Done in a blender, it should last you a week or so. Also, despite my going on about emulsifiers, you don’t need them. You can easily add some red wine vinegar to olive oil with some herbs, salt, etc., and have a great quick dressing.
Too long, didn’t read version: 1/4 cup vinegar of some kind, some dijon mustard or egg yolk, some herbs or seasoning or fruit, mix, then slowly mix while adding 3/4 cup oil of some kind. Throw in garlic, italian herbs, blueberries, a cheeseburger… wait, ignore that last bit. That’s just my stomach, telling me it wants lunch.
To start we want to roast the garlic. Place on a square of foil, cut the top off, exposing the actual garlic, and drizzle with olive oil.
Wrap in the foil, tight so it won’t leak oil, and roast at 400°F for 30 minutes.
When the garlic has roasted and cooled, mix it with the vinegar, mustard, honey, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. You can do this in a bowl or a blender. My garlic had roasted a bit too much and I had browned, harder pieces, so I used the blender to puree them better.
Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending, or while whisking by hand.
That’s it! Your dressing is done. The longer you keep blending it, the thicker it will become, so blend to the desired thickness. Pour over a salad (in this case, a spinach salad with grated red onion, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and crumbled bacon), and enjoy!
- 1 head garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut the top ¼ to ½ inch off of the clove of garlic, place on a square of foil, and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- When garlic is roasted and cooled, squeeze into a bowl or a blender. Add in vinegar, mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
- Slowly pour in olive oil while blending or whisking constantly.