This post features the BlenderBottle that I am giving away. Make sure to visit my BlenderBottle Giveaway post and follow the instructions over there to get your entry in. Contest ends March 1st, at 23h59.
One of the things I could never understand is how people buy the bottled vinaigrettes at the grocery store. Sure, I understand that time can be an issue – the question needs to be asked though – at what cost? By the end of this post, you will be able to make your own vinaigrette with nothing more than a few tools you have hanging around, and you will never have to buy the premade stuff again.
The main thing you need to remember when it comes to vinaigrettes is it’s a ratio of 3:1. That’s 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (or acid.) Of course, there are exceptions to the rules, (like if you are my wife and like a acidic vinaigrette, you will be closer to 2:1.) The easiest thing to do is remember that ratio, live it, and breathe it, and you will never have to buy another store-bought item again.
After that golden ratio, the only thing left are two parts: the emulsion, and the seasonings.
There are two routes that I can remember when it comes to emulsion. You can either use egg yolks, or mustard.
When you use egg yolks, the natural lecithin is what emulsifies the mixture. In the case of mustard, it is the natural gums that do the trick. In either case, we use this to help our mixture become stable.
The amount of emulsion to the total mixture seems to hit a sweet spot at around 2% of the whole mixture. I usually run about 1 teaspoon for every cup of vinaigrette that I make. Any less, and the emulsion breaks. It’s not such a big deal, you can always just shake the mixture before using… but if you have it on a buffet serving hundreds of people – you get the idea.
Now we have what makes our vinaigrette stand out from a simple oil and vinegar mix. It can be fresh herbs, chopped up sundried tomatoes, Tabasco sauce – you name it. Liquids and dry herbs are usually added to the vinegar mixture before adding the oil for ease of use. If a liquid is added after emulsion has occurred, the risk is that the vinaigrette will break, or lose emulsion power because the ratio of liquid to oil is upset.
Fresh herbs, chopped items like capers, sundried tomatoes or olives are added at the end once the emulsion is reached. This is so the final tasting and correction of the seasoning can take place. In most cases its so you don’t lose the texture of the garnish. (For example, if you put in sundried tomatoes at the beginning before adding your oil, by the time you are finished you would not recognize the sundried tomatoes.)
One can get all fancy and use a blender, or micro food processor especially for vinaigrettes. Or, you can do what I do.
I use a jar with a lid. (My wife says I have a million of them around the house, so this recipe at least justifies its use.) Today I am going to use the BlenderBottle because it has a whisk inside, which is perfect for my needs. (Don’t forget to enter the contest to win yours!)
Today I am going to make Zesty Italian Dressing
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Taste mixture with lettuce; adjust seasonings. I poured it into a container that I will be storing in the fridge. It makes it easier for a person to taste the vinaigrette. Why don’t we just taste it with out fingers? Well, it’s best to taste it with what you are using it for. Lettuce!
What is your favorite vinaigrette to make? Let me know in the comments!
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