Honestly, it’s not as hard as you think. It can also be really satisfying, really tasty, and probably healthier than the stuff that comes out of a bottle. Best of all, whether you make it for yourself, your family, or a group of people, you get to brag that you made the dressing. And why pursue anything in the kitchen if you don’t get to brag about it?
Vinaigrettes are the easiest to make, not to mention that you probably have most of the necessary ingredients in your kitchen already. In almost all cases, the base is olive (or other vegetable) oil. Add-ins are generally vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard or other spices, citrus juice, or honey. As with most culinary ventures, it’s best to learn the recipe first, then tweak it to your liking the next time you make it.
A good rule for these is to blend all other ingredients together, then add the oil last. I’m starting off with the basic vinaigrette recipe, which can stand on its own. Each subsequent dressing uses that as a base on which to add additional ingredients. You may want to use red wine vinegar for the added-on recipes because balsamic has such a strong flavor that may overpower the added ingredients. If you’ve been paying attention to my posts, you shouldn’t have to ask what cookbook these recipes are from.
Note: Optional ingredients are in parentheses
Add in a small bowl:
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
(1 mashed garlic clove)
(¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard)
Whisk until blended. Add, whisking constantly:
¾ cup olive or walnut oil
Black Pepper Vinaigrette
1 to 2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
¼ cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese
Prepare Simple Vinaigrette but substitute:
¼ cup fresh lime juice for vinegar