Salad dressings can make or break a salad. I rarely buy pre-made dressings in bottles because I can’t finish them within a month (aka the recommended safety shelf-life in the fridge). The good news is that making a delicious dressing is literally seconds away.
To make a vinaigrette, there are three basic ingredients:
1/3 cup “acid” + 2/3 cup oil + 1 tsp of emulsifier
[My add-ons: 1 small jar with a lid + salt/pepper to taste]
The ratio of oil and acid is usually 3 :1 or 2:1, depending on your taste. When making a vinaigrette, choose flavorful oils like extra virgin olive oil. If you want the acid flavor to shine, then choose a more mild tasting oil like canola, which is still heart healthy.
The “acid” refers to just that: anything acidic. This usually is in the form of a vinegar or citrus juice. Most people are familiar with balsamic vinegar but other tasty acid alternatives include lemon juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, red wine vinegar, sherry wine vinegar, and champagne vinegar. Pick one to enjoy.
Emulsifiers come in many forms like garlic, shallots, and dijon mustard. Adding a tsp of dijon mustard will help create a water-in-oil emulsion which means that the oil and acid will not separate. I’m not a big fan of mustard so I rarely buy it. Want to know what else works as an emulsifier? Shaking the dressing really really rigorously in a small jar. Like salt and pepper, shaking it is a temporary emulsion/mixing technique, but it works especially if you shake it right before tossing it in the salad.
My favorite vinaigrette to make is with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. BOOM! Instant deliciousness.
Lastly, here is one of the BEST food tips I received from the head chef of a 5-star rated hotel restaurant: salad dressings and vinaigrettes make the perfect marinades for meats.