There must be thousands of recipes for oil-and-vinegar dressings, or vinaigrettes. But all of them are asked to defy the laws of nature, because oil and vinegar don't mix. Just shake up a bottle of store-bought salad dressing and the two parts come together. But set the bottle down, and in seconds they start to separate again, until all the oil is at the top and all the vinegar is at the bottom. Bringing them together temporarily is called creating an “emulsion.” One can make an emulsion that will stay together and serve as the basis for a good salad dressing by following some simple procedures.
Ratio: The right ratio is three parts oil to one part vinegar (for almost all oils and vinegars).
Seasoning: Add seasonings to the vinegar before adding the oil, because most of them will not mix well with the oil.
Whisking: It is important to whisk the dressing after the addition of each part of oil … this will keep the emulsion together. And if not, a simple turn or two of the whisk will bring it back together.
Tasting: The best way to test the flavor of your vinaigrette is to dip a piece of lettuce in, shake off the excess and then take a bite. This will give you a good sense of how your salad will taste.
Juices: If your taste buds tell you the three-to-one proportions are still too “vinegary” for you, add a few drops of lemon juice, which will balance out that flavor. This can also be done with lime or even orange.
My Mustard Vinaigrette:
In the bottom of the empty salad bowl, place a teaspoon of
mustard. Add ½ tablespoon of red Dijon
wine vinegar and ½ tablespoon of balsamic red wine vinegar and whisk together. Add salt and coarse pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and whisk. Add a second tablespoon of peanut oil and whisk; add a third tablespoon of peanut oil and whisk again. Chop 1 shallot and add to the sauce. Allow to macerate together for at least 30 minutes, or for as much as eight hours. Just before serving add the salad greens (any combination of greens, such as escarole,
mixed spring greens, spinach, endive, or romaine). I tend to use this salad
dressing in the winter months. Boston
My Garlic Vinaigrette:
In the bottom of the empty salad bowl, place ½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar and ½ tablespoon of balsamic red wine vinegar and whisk together. Add salt and coarse pepper and two pieces of minced garlic (be sure to take out the green germ inside if there is one). Add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO—always use “first cold press” for salads) and whisk. Add a second tablespoon of EVOO and whisk; add the third tablespoon of EVOO and whisk again. Chop ½ Vidalia onion and add to the sauce. Allow to macerate together for at least 30 minutes, or for as much as eight hours. Just before serving add the salad components (romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) I tend to use this salad dressing in the summer months, when the tomatoes are good.
Eric Ripert’s Salad Dressing
I use this when I have seafood (lobster or shrimp) in the salad.
In the bottom of the empty salad bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of
mustard, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of
sherry vinegar. Drizzle in, while constantly whisking, ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon
of olive oil (first-cold-press EVOO), and finally ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of
corn oil. Dijon