Recipe by Texas Barby
Vinaigrettes are easy. Learn one thing - the ratio - and make any flavored vinaigrette you want. Always start with 1 part acid to 3 parts oil and go from there. Everything else is flavoring. Get creative and use what you have at hand. If you use citrus fruit in the salad, use the juice for the acid in the dressing. Out of red wine vinegar? Try champagne vinegar or other variety such as blueberry wine vinegar. We often buy a special ingredient for one recipe; then, we are stuck with the rest of the bottle and no plans. Now is the time to experiment. These proportions work for any flavor vinaigrette but don't bother measuring. Practice and get a feel for it. Dip a lettuce leaf in the mixture to try it; then, adjust flavors to your taste. You are the one who needs to love it. Nutrition labels on bottled dressings allow 2 T per serving - way more than is needed. Look at the cost! And not just in money - fat, calories, carbs... Making your own dressing is CHEAP! You control the quality of ingredients; the food [and nutrition] are real; and the flavor is amazing. Think of the refrigerator space you can clear. Once you try the real deal, you won't go back.
- 1 small garlic clove, pasted
- 1 teaspoon shallot, finely diced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (more for a mustard flavored dressing)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (any flavor) or 1 tablespoon citrus juice (lemon, lime, tangarine, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons salad oil (break out the good olive oil or use canola oil)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh herb, finely chopped, if desired
Directions See How It's Made
- Choose a bowl that is large enough for vigorous whisking.
- Add garlic, shallot, mustard, acid, and seasoning to the bowl.
- Whisk vigorously. Once the emulsion is established, drizzle in your chosen oil - a few drops at a time - until the mixture absorbs it. The texture will change to tell you that you can drizzle a little faster. Do not overwhelm the emulsion. Patience is essential. Taste it on a lettuce leaf and adjust the seasoning, as desired. The dressing will be overpowering by itself. Good, it should be because you aren't going to drown you salad in dressing.
- Tips: For a milder garlic flavor, cut the clove in half, lengthwise, and rub the bowl with the cut side. Discard the clove or reserve it for another use.
- Onion does not provide the same flavor as shallot. I use shallot or skip it.
- The mustard helps the emulsion get going and adds a slight zing to the dressing. It will not taste 'mustardy.' For specialty recipes, you might want whole grain mustard, flavored mustards, etc. This is your recipe, now.
- Note: Never overdress your salad. The greens become soggy and over-tart. The mouthfeel is very unpleasant. A side salad is about 2 cups of mixed greens. For 4 servings, use about half of your dressing. Using tongs, turn your greens over and over to 'dress the salad;' then, arrange the leaves on the salad plate and add garnishes like tomatoes, orange slices, cheese, nuts, etc. Serve immediately.
- To go instructions: Prepare dressing and store in a tightly sealed container for transport. Do not dress the greens until time to serve.
- Refrigerate remaining dressing in a sealed container for up to one week. Allow it to come to room temperature and shake well before serving.