Building on Basics: Making Vinaigrette
Typically the rule for making a vinaigrette starts with a ratio of 3:1 - olive oil to vinegar. You really can't follow that rule to the grave when there are so many different oils and vinegars with different viscosities, flavors, etc. It certainly is a good start though!
There is absolutely nothing like the refreshing taste of a well-made vinaigrette. With olive oil & vinegar, it is the simplest most basic dressing out there. But, what if you need more than just a simple, basic dressing?
The 3:1 ratio rule does require some adjustments. Not all olive oils and vinegars are the same, nor will they give the same balance of flavors. So, how do you know you have the right ratio? It is when you find the balance in your mouth.
Do you really have to be so rigid and stick to that 3:1 ratio rule? No! In fact, it won't work. If you were to take a full-bodied balsamic vinegar, you know exactly how potent this vinegar is! You don't have to taste it to know how strong it can be. The aroma of balsamic excites the senses just by smelling it when you open the bottle! This would be a classic example of the ratio not working out at all. You may have to adjust the one-part Balsamic because the fat in the olive oil might not be able to give the balance it needs.
How To Bring Fat and Vinegar Together
If you have ever heard the term "emulsification", it sounds pretty intimidating. You are forcing two liquids that are incapable of dissolving together, into a homogenous liquid. Eventually it does separate and just needs a good shake! Using a small dollop of mustard (yellow, dijon, grainy) actually acts like "glue" when you incorporate that into an olive-oil/vinegar solution. After vigorously whisking or using a high-powered blender/mixer, you can get your vinaigrette to stabilize together.
Dressing Up Your Vinaigrette Dressing This has got to be the most favorite part of dressing-making! Getting experimental with using either dried or fresh spices, fresh fruits, citrus, even cheeses like pecorino, parmesan or gorgonzola can be fun! Even a combination of vinegars together will amplify the rest of the seasonings you put into your olive-oil/vinegar solution. Creating Your Perfect Vinaigrette This is where having a trained palate can make your whole life simpler and easier. Vinaigrette serves multiple purposes. It is a palate cleanser, flavor amplifier, and a marinade. It is one of the most multi-purpose food items out there. Getting the right combination requires you to taste-test to get the right balance of flavors. Here are a few suggestions: Italian Dressing: (Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar or White Vinegar) Fresh herbs, fresh garlic, fresh shallots, kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder Lemonade Vinaigrette: (Olive Oil, White Vinegar) Lemon juice and zest, cane sugar, honey, fresh garlic, kosher salt, white pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette: (Olive oil, White Balsamic or Balsamic Vinegar) Fresh basil & oregano, fresh garlic & shallots, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, black pepper