Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Homemade Viniagrette

The front page article in the Chicago Tribune today featured several recipes for making vinaigrette. (It was actually the front page of the Good Eating section but to me, on a Wednesday, that is the front page.) I make my own vinaigrette all the time. It is a great way to save money and get a fresh, great tasting, preservative free salad dressing that tastes so much better than any bottled dressing.
There are so many different varieties of vinaigrette one can make. Just changing the vinegar or adding an herb makes a new dressing. I even made my own herb vinegars by purchasing bulk vinegar and flavoring it with herbs from my garden but one has to wait until the end of summer when the herbs are plentiful to do that so I'll save that for another time.
To make it, I start with some vinegar (balsamic, white wine, red wine, Champagne, sherry...the options are endless), add Dijon mustard, chopped shallots, garlic, or onions, a chopped herb if I am using one, salt & pepper, and combine. Then I whisk in some oil. I almost always use a canola oil as it has a very neutral flavor and as I usually make extra to have in the fridge, it does not solidify like olive oil would. The standard ratio is one part vinegar to 3-4 parts oil. Many times I use less oil than that to make it a little healthier. This does make it pretty acidic but it also forces me to use less - even healthier.
The dijon and shallot, garlic or onion act as emulsifiers. Adding those will help your vinegar and oil from separating. It is not necessary to add either of them but they add a lot of flavor also.
Some other additions that I like are lemon, lime or orange juice, chipotle, blue cheese, avocado, yogurt, and black olives.


1/2 cup Vinegar (any good quality vinegar will work: balsamic, white or red wine, sherry, Champagne)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Shallots, Onions, or Garlic, chopped (you may want to use less garlic)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs (optional) - My favorites are tarragon or rosemary
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups canola oil (can use less if desired)

Mix all ingredients except oil together. Slowly whisk in oil and continue whisking until mixture is emulsified (totally combined). Taste and make any necessary adjustments. Let stand for 1/2 hour for flavors to mix. Can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Any other additions can be added. For example, whisking in some blue cheese and yogurt makes a creamy blue cheese vinaigrette. If you add the citrus juice, you will not need as much vinegar.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the dressing tips. My daughter says I'm in a rut when it comes to salad dressings, so can't wait to try some new options & this recipe sounds delicious and very flexible!