Fun with Vinaigrettes
Recently, I learned the ancient art of making salad dressings. And in doing so, I was no longer trapped within the confines of Aisle 3 at the grocery store, hoping that one of those bottles would wake-up a dish or bring flavor to my lowly greens. I started making my own, initially experimenting with the simplest of all…vinaigrettes. The only required equipment is a small bowl and a fork or a mason jar with a lid.
A vinaigrette is nothing more than a mixture of oil and vinegar, and can be flavored with herbs and spices.
A vinaigrette is nothing more than a mixture of oil and vinegar, and can be flavored with herbs and spices. Although it’s most commonly used as a salad dressing, it also makes for a terrific marinade or sauce. You can craft your own vinaigrette quite easily. A vinaigrette consists of just three parts: base (oil) to one part acid (vinegar). Beyond that, you can add anything else you like. All it takes is a pinch of knowledge, sprinkled lightly with creativity.
Because oil and vinegar don’t mix on their own, you must emulsify the oil. Now, don’t be frightened by that word! To emulsify the oil, simply put all the ingredients (except the oil) in a blender or bowl, then whisk the mixture vigorously while slowly drizzling in the oil. Using a blender it tends to make a much thicker emulsion, and this is not always what you want. Sometimes a lighter, thinner dressing is better. Another way to emulsify the oil is by putting all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake the hell out of it.
Your vinaigrette can be used to marinade meats or even served as a dipping sauce. Another nice thing about making your own dressing is that you don’t really need to use a recipe. In fact, you can always modify the ingredients, depending on what you have in your cupboard and fridge. If you have leftovers, just be sure to refrigerate and use your creation within a week.
Here are some bases, acids, and spices that I’ve collected. This is a good set of ingredients to get you started. Have fun mixing and matching when creating your own vinaigrette:
Sesame Seed Oil
Flavor Infused Olive Oils
Chinese Chili Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
From the Tiny Kitchen,