Vinaigrette may be easy to prepare, but there is a method to its magic. Learn the key to success in our easy step-by-step guide.
Text: Brandy Rushing
April 30, 2010
1 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Easy, Homemade Vinaigrettes
The simplicity of a good vinaigrette is a thing of beauty. Grab a bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar, add a pinch of salt, and dull lettuce springs to life, veggies go from bland to bold, and meat finds a tangy marinade.
Vinaigrette may be easy to prepare, but there is a method to its magic. The keys to success start with good ingredients (since there are so few in the mix, it pays to reach for the top-shelf stuff) and end with emulsification, thoroughly blending the oil’s fat molecules and the watery vinegar. Adding a touch of creamy Dijon mustard helps the emulsification happen more easily.
From there, flavor as you see fit. Additions can be as simple as a pinch of salt and pepper or as complex as a bit of honey, fresh herbs, or minced shallots. Try our classic combination in the following slides.
2 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Step 1: Build a Flavor Base
Finely mince 2 tablespoons shallots so pieces will incorporate easily and spread throughout your dressing. Place in a bowl with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
3 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Step 2: Add an Acid
Pour 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar into mixture with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; whisk to combine ingredients.
4 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Step 3: Whisk in Oil
Slowly pour 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (almost drop by drop) into the mixture, whisking as you go to incorporate and create a creamy, emulsified finish.
5 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
When properly emulsified, ingredients are suspended throughout the mix (right). A broken vinaigrette (left) will have clear separation between the oil and vinegar. Store fresh-made vinaigrette in a covered container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Whisk before serving.