Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vinaigrette: Rescue for a Prework Lunch Disaster

Today, I went to my refrigerator to make a tasty salad. (yes I eat salads for lunch) Checklist, Romaine, onion, pepper, cheese, ham, salad dressing, this is where my day went south. My favorite bottled dressing was empty, and in keeping with the rules of this experiment I now have to make my own salad dressings. Given that it was morning and I didn't have a lot of time I decided on making a vinaigrette. Vinaigrette, so fast yet so complex, this concoction is a science experiment in the kitchen. I have to admit that this is not the first time that I have made a vinaigrette I have done it for a lot of recipes and for special occasions. But I have never really thought about it as refrigerator staple that I could make for myself on an weekly basis and I not sure why. It's fast, simple, and cheap and if I'm about anything is about being cheap.

Let's take a look at what a vinaigrette is. First we must do something that is painful for most of us, we must throwout our reliance on recipes, for vinaigrette's they don't exist. Now that our brains hurt, let's talk ratios. Think of a vinaigrette as a cocktail, cocktails are put together in parts, X number of parts to y number of parts. The great thing about this is a part can be any size, got measuring cups, great, got an old beer can, perfect! So what is the ratio for a vinaigrette? 3 to 1, three parts oil to one part vinegar, that's technically a vinaigrette, granted not a very interesting one but it is a vinaigrette These are the two required ingredients for you dressing, after this it's up to you. So what did I make?

I started by collecting the weapons I would need for this concoction. I grabbed a whisk, bowl, chef knife,measuring cup, and a spoon. I than went to the panty. I got white wine vinegar, garlic and oil. A word about oil here, I use extra virgin olive oil in vinaigrette. The reason is that extra virgin olive oil has a mild flavor and is a heart healthy oil. You could use a neutral oil like vegetable or grape seed but you get little to no flavors from these oils. I than went the refrigerator and got Dijon mustard.

It was now time to assemble. I minced one clove of garlic and put it in the bowl. I added a pinch of salt and a healthy grind of black pepper. (I like pepper in just about everything) I than add a spoonful of mustard and NO I did not measure it, I just eyeball it. Mustard does two thing here. The first is obvious, it adds flavor, but second reason is far more important. Mustard has emulsifiers that keep the solution in suspension, preventing easy separation of the vinaigrette. You can skip the mustard if you like, just remember that it will fall out of suspension much faster and will require frequent shaking to mix before use

Next I decided to add a little honey. Why? I just wanted to take a little of the acid's bite out of the dressing, again just eyeball it. In a measuring cup I put 1/3 cup of vinegar and add it to the bowl. Now I measure 1 cup of oil, this is where technique comes into play. Take you whisk and Whisk together all the ingredients except the oil. Once these incorporated, take the oil and slowly pour it into the other ingredients, while whisking very quickly until it have a smooth, uniform consistency. It's not going to look like it is going to come together, but it will.

That,s it, vinaigrette salad dressing. Shake well before using. Keep it in the refrigerator, a week. Total time involved, 6 min.. Pain in the ass factor: minimal. One thing you will notice is depending one the quality of the oil that you use, you may notice it solidifying in the refrigerator. This isn't really a problem, just take it out and let it seat at room temp for a little while and shake to combine. Easy and cheap, a bottle of this is about $.20. It also can be used for other things like green beans, roasted broccoli and just about any veggie you would like to give a zing to. How about you Do you have  a way you make vinaigrette or a use or dish you like to make? If so please leave a comment and let me know!


  1. I LOVE honey mustard and frequently find the house is out. Another easy condiment. I prefer dijon mustard and honey, 50/50 mix.

    1. I'll have to give that a try. Is this 50/50 Honey and mustard?

    2. Yes, I usually eyeball it rather than measure.