It is a simple idea, just mix vinegar and oil together and you have a salad dressing, or vinaigrette. Of course we are asking nothing less than to defy the laws of nature. That is because oil and vinegar don’t mix. I am sure you have witnessed this yourself.
The best we can do is encourage them to come together for a little while, which they will do, provided we whisk, shake, stir or otherwise mix them up really well.
This is called a temporary emulsion — temporary because the oil and vinegar begin to separate as soon as you stop whisking, mixing or stirring.
If you remember nothing else about vinaigrettes, remember this: the magic ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. As long as you remember that, you will never need to consult a vinaigrette recipe ever again. Just remember, three parts oil to one part vinegar. If you get them backwards and do three parts vinegar to one part oil, your taste buds will tell you that you have made a mistake….pucker up!
The 3:1 ratio is somewhat set in stone? But keep in mind that different vinegars have different strengths, so the ratio might need to be adjusted somewhat. You may want a more tart dressing sometimes, and other times a bit milder flavor or even a sweet dressing, just add a little sugar, brown sugar or splenda. (Aprox. 1 teaspoon for a small amt. of dressing or as much a 1-2 tablespoons for larger amounts) This you will have to experiment with to suite your own taste. Just keep in mind what other foods you are serving with your salad so it all complements each other.
Your dressing will be perfect when you use your infused oil with all of its flavors and mix with vinegar.
he most neutral flavored vinegar is white vinegar, but generally not used in a vinaigrette. At the very least, use white wine vinegar. The flavors and types of specialty vinegars, like balsamic, aged red wine, sherry or raspberry, are varied and diverse, but usually are good choices. Cider vinegar is made from apples and is a good choice for fruity vinaigrettes. Balsamic vinegar, (my favorite) is sweet, dark and aged in specially treated wooden casks, is one of the most sublime vinegars you can find. Some are very expensive but you don’t have to spend a lot to find a good Balsamic. Another interesting choice, for an Asian-flavor is rice vinegar, which is made from fermented rice.
The most effective way of combining oil and vinegar is in a blender or you can combine everything in a glass or stainless steel bowl and just whisk them together thoroughly. (Just don’t use an aluminum bowl — the acid in the vinegar can react with the aluminum, producing a metallic flavor.) You could also use a clean glass jar with a tight lid or a bottle and shake to combine.
For best results, all your ingredients should be at room temperature when you begin. The cooler the oil, the more difficult it is to make an emulsion. You may want to mix your dressing up and leave it sit for an hour or two, it’s nice to let the flavors meld for a while.
Give it another good whisk or shake before pouring on your greens.