In the era of DIY – everything, you might be skimming past this article thinking, “I can buy a bottle of dressing for cheaper (and with less anxiety about becoming the next most-wanted Pinterest fail). Ok, maybe not. From my years in commercial kitchens, there is a consistent ache of “make or buy” phenomenon from each Chef and cook. Should we scratch make the product, which would require more time and labor, but the quality is most excellent? (P.S. name that movie. There is a few other movie quotes later.) Or, do we buy the product, saving on time and labor, but it might be a less quality product?
For your satisfaction of dressing delights, this conundrum may not be a priority. I prefer to make my own vinaigrettes, salad dressings, and marinades, because I know the exact ingredients in the final product. No, I am not a non-GMO – certified organic – butter is bad – cotton-headed ninny muggins – fanatic, but I do desire to fuel my body with ingredients I can pronounce, and that originate from dirt.
Vinaigrettes are easy to make, the ingredients may already be in your pantry, and trust me, you will sing “I’VE GOT THE POWER”.
I don’t often have a recipe for a vinaigrette, but instead I follow ratios and a basic checklist of ingredients. The recipe at the end is for a small amount – enough for two or three servings on a salad. Unless you really like vinaigrette. This yield doesn’t apply to gluttons.
- 3:1 Ration of Oil to Vinegar
For our recipe, it is one fluid ounce of vinegar and 3 fluid ounces of oil. Or in the fear of sudden vinaigrette apocalypse, three gallons oil to one gallon of vinegar. Often, I make vinaigrettes with a 2:1 ratio because I enjoy acidic food.
- Oils: Canola, vegetable, olive oil, EVOO (Thank you, Rachel.)
When using extra virgin olive oil, use ½ cup of EVOO and ½ cup vegetable or canola oil. EVOO on it’s lonesome can be very potent.
- Vinegars: White Balsamic, Apple Cider, Balsamic, Champagne, and Red Wine
A few of my favorites. CAUTION: Do not mistake cooking wine for vinegar. I know from experience. It was a very low part of my life.
- Emulsifier: Dijon mustard (Favorite = Grey Poupon), dry mustard, egg yolk, mayonnaise, yogurt
Emulsifiers are the glue for the marriage of opposites-not-attracted oil and vinegar, because marriage is what brings us together today.
- Aromatics: garlic, shallot, herbs – both dried and fresh, and lemon juice
Make it taste good.
- Herbs: thyme, parsley, and basil are my staple go-to’s.
- Others: honey, spices, Worcestershire sauce (Does anyone really know how to pronounce it?) hot sauce, sweeteners, or chilies (Hey, some like it hot!)
- Always taste and season with Salt and Pepper
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
|Prep:||Yield: 4 oz (1/2 cup)||Total:|
- Apple Cider Vinegar 1 ounce (2 tablespoons)
- Dijon Mustard OR Dry Mustard 1 teaspoon
- Garlic 1 teaspoon
- Honey 1 tsp
- Vegetable Oil 3 ounces (almost ¼ cup)
- 1 T fresh herbs OR ½ tablespoon dried herbs*
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Dissolve mustard and honey into vinegar by whisking in a bowl until there is no clumps.
- Add garlic.
- SLOWLY stream in the vegetable oil while whisking. This will help slowly emulsify and marry the two ingredients.
- Add herbs after mixing in oil.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
*Any herbs can be used. I recommend basil or thyme.
For larger recipes, a electric blender can be used, and follow the same steps.
We love storing our dressings in shaker cups – air tight storage that allows for easy pour use. It’s also great because as homemade dressings sit they occasionally can separate and the cups are great for shaking to re-incorporate it.
Taste that delicious-ness you just made. Be proud. Put it on The ‘Gram.
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