Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Vinaigrette - you'll never want store-bought salad dressing again!

Vinaigrette is an emulsion of oil and vinegar, often flavored with herbs, spices, and other ingredients, such as shallots, raspberries, and cheese.  The basic recipe is to slowly add 3 parts oil at room temperature to 1 part vinegar, using a whisk, until it emulsifies into a creamy sauce.  Salt and pepper are added to taste and the addition of a small amount of mustard can help the keep the oil and acid in an emulsified state.  The typical amount per serving is 1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons.  I like to make up about a cup of vinaigrette and keep it in the refrigerator.  Basic vinaigrette will stay in the refrigerator for a couple weeks before the emulsion breaks down.  Here are my favorite recipes. 

But wait, here’s a trick!  Dampen a paper towel and put it on your counter under the bowl you are going to use to make the vinaigrette.  It will help keep the bowl from whirling around while you pour the oil with one hand and whisk with the other.

Basic Vinaigrette: put 4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard in a small bowl with ¼ cup vinegar (I'm a fan of white balsamic).  Slowly whisk in ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil until it emulsifies. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette:  put 1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses in a small bowl with 3 Tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar. Whisk in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Mix in salt and pepper to taste. Note: this makes a fantastic fall dinner salad with arugula, chunks of roasted sweet potatoes, chicken or turkey, pomegranate seeds, and shaved parmesan cheese.  Did you know you can freeze pomegranate seeds?  I do it every fall, so I can eat this yummy salad all year long!

Asian Sesame Vinaigrette: put ¼ cup toasted sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Whisk in ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil.

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