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.
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.