How-To: Simple, Satisfying Vinaigrette
Now that summer is here, nothing beats a simple lunch of freshly picked baby lettuces tossed with homemade vinaigrette. A straightforward, yet well-made, vinaigrette can turn a boring bland salad into a scrumptious one. And it’s probably easier than you think. Follow these easy instructions and you’ll have your own homemade dressing in no time.
Step 1: It’s important to start with top-notch ingredients. There are only a few items in vinaigrette, so make them count.
Step 2: Add 1 ½ teaspoons of Dijon mustard to a small bowl. This not only adds a bit of flavor but also is the key in an emulsified dressing. (Emulsifying means combining two liquids that do not combine together like oil and vinegar.) The mustard helps join the oil and vinegar together into one smooth liquid. Paula also likes to use a teaspoon of mayonnaise, which also has emulsifying properties. She likes the touch of creaminess it adds to the dressing.
Step 3: Next, add your vinegar or acid. If making a lemon vinaigrette, like we’re showcasing here, use the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Whisk it to combine with the Dijon and mayonnaise.
Step 4: Very slowly, stream in ½ cup extra virgin olive oil while whisking. Do this slowly so the oil and lemon juice become completely combined.
Step 5: Season the dressing with salt and pepper. If you want, this is when you would add your herbs or other seasonings. This recipe makes ¾ cup of dressing.
Step 6: Dress your greens just before serving. You don’t want the vinaigrette to weigh down your greens.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Now that you’ve mastered the simple vinaigrette, try adding a few of these ingredients to make your own unique dressing:
+Different kinds of citrus or vinegars, such as balsamic, red wine, white wine, or apple cider vinegar
+Fresh chopped herbs like dill, parsley, thyme, or basil
+Minced onion or shallot
+A pinch of sugar for a subtle sweetness
+ A pinch of spices, like cumin or paprika, to give your dressing a distinct flavor profile.
Do you have any homemade dressings you like to make? Let us know your recipes in the comments section!