As one of the five mother sauces, vinaigrette was high on my list of sauces to prepare for the first time. I found that it is not only easy to make, but it’s also fun to make. You get to shake a sealed Tupperware bowl like a crazy woman (or crazy man if it fits).
Vinaigrette is essentially one or more acids (e.g., vinegar, lime juice, or soy sauce) and one or more fats mixed together (e.g., olive oil, bacon fat, or peanut oil) for use as a marinade or dressing. Most of us think of vinaigrette as a salad dressing, but it can also work well atop cooked vegetables or meat and fish.
Add Flavor to Your Vinaigrette
If you prefer a creamy vinaigrette, add an emulsifier. A small touch of mustard, mayo, or egg yolk, for example, will add flavor and give you a uniform sauce. Speaking of flavor, a vinaigrette could easily go sweet, tangy, or spicy to fit the menu. Simply add whatever combination of herbs and spices that fit your fancy.
If you prefer to keep things simple, that’s okay too. Neither emulsion nor aromatics are necessary for a quality vinaigrette. You can always keep it simple and let the base ingredients (acid and oil) speak for themselves.
The Do-It-Yourself Variety is Better
Homemade vinaigrette will last in the fridge for four to five days. While this is clearly a much shorter shelf-life than that of a store-bought dressing, the flavors of your homemade vinaigrette will be better and you can make as little or as much as you want to be sure you do not waste any food. I’m convinced that homemade vinaigrette is cheaper than the storebought variety as well.
Why wouldn’t you make your own!
Recipe for Vinaigrette
*2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
*1 tbsp. lime juice
*1 tsp. Dijon mustard
*1 tsp. each of salt, pepper, and paprika
*4 tbsp. olive oil
Directions: Whisk the vinegar and lime juice together in a Tupperware bowl. Add salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to whisk. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes to allow the flavors to settle. Slowly drip one tablespoon of olive oil at a time all the while whisking. Once all the ingredients are in the container, seal it and shake like crazy. Results in about three servings.
Notes: Technically, you should have one part acid for three parts fat, but you can modify the ratio depending on how much zip you like. I say taste as you go to find the right balance for you. Whatever vinaigrette is leftover should be stored in the refrigerator. It’s likely the vinaigrette will separate between uses. Simply shake the sealed container to remedy.