Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know Your Vinaigrette

Oh the bajillions of things you can just throw together when you've got a good vinaigrette stocked in your fridge!  It is simple to make & easy to mix & match ingredients once you've got your ratios down.

Here is my basic recipe, in order of appearance:

You'll need a good size bowl, even for a somewhat small amount, & a whisk.

1/2 - 1 shallot minced
 Salt, sea or kosher (more than you think!)
approx 3 TBSP Vinegar
approx 1 TBSP Mustard (dijon is always best, in my opinion)
approx 1 TBSP Honey
atleast 1/2 cp Olive oil
squeeze of lemon
few grinds of Black Pepper

Get that Shallot in the bowl & pretty much coat it in Salt, remember you're adding lots more ingredients.  The Salt, & later the Vin/ Lemon, "cook" the Shallot.  This will actually make it easier on the belly.  Then add your Vinegar & give a stir.  Next incorporate the Mustard & the Honey, get it good & mixed.  Now to emulsify the Olive Oil!  I drizzled that shit in for years!  But honestly, now I just glug it in & give it some good elbow grease.  I'd say go a 1/4 cup at a time & really use that whisk & that surface area in the large-ish bowl.  Seriously, go to town with that whisk, its good for the constitution & it will enable emulsification like a charm.  The result should be pretty viscous.  A squeeze of Lemon will brighten the flavor & who doesn't love Black Pepper?

Some notes to troubleshoot...

Don't be afraid of Salt, it helps balance the Oil, it actually keeps it from tasting oily!  As will the acidic elements, which is why some fresh Lemon always works.  But forreals, if it tastes oily add a bit more Salt.  It will help bring those other flavors up.

A tasty cheat on the emulsification is to add more Mustard.  It will goo it up a bit quicker, but it will make it a Mustard Vinaigrette (which rules as well).  Also, Balsamic Vinegar is the best emulsifying vin for sure.

Once you've got it down start dreaming up combinations & other flavors to add!

Balsamic with Orange Zest   -  Lemony White Wine Vin (lemon zest)                   
Sherry Vin with fresh Thyme - or Sherry Vin & replace the honey with
                                                        Pomegranate Molasses

Also, you can use this Vinaigrette as a base for more complex dressings:

add a TBSP or so of Mayo, plus Garlic, Capers, Lemon Zest, Parm & Anchovies = Caesar!

Puree a Mango add to a  Lime-y vinaigrette with minced jalepeno... & make Fish Tacos!

Halve the Oil & add Tahini, Fresh Parsley & a dash of Tamari = Goddess Dressing!

Not to mention BBQ Sauces...

Simmer a Vinaigrette with some Tomatoes or Tomato Paste, Honey or Brown Sugar = Carolina Blonde!

Same idea with Apricot Jam, maybe some fresh Sage?!

Did someone say Bean Dip?

I think you get the idea...

Yum City.


  1. Jess! I love the way you break it down baby. So smart. So many possibilities with just a few basic ingredients. Kim and I are dreaming up spicy tofu marinades with your recipe. Thanks.

  2. Yay Jenn! Awesome! I so owed kim this info for like 10 years...