O’Live A Little’s Classic Red Wine Vinaigrette
Ratio: 4 oz. Vinegar, 10 oz. Olive Oil
- 1-2 T Good Dijon mustard such as Pommery or Fallot
- 1 /2 Cup O’Live A Little Sweet Red Wine vinegar (don’t substitute it so good!)
- 1 1/ 2 Cups O’Live A Little Olive Oil (your choice, but we like our Greek EVOO the best in this recipe)
- Salt & Pepper
Combine mustard and vinegar in a blender and blend at medium speed for 15 seconds. With the machine running, slowly drizzle 1/ 2 of the oil. Don’t be tempted to add all the oil to the blender at once or the vinaigrette will become to thick. It should be very creamy.
Chopped Fresh Herbs
Garlic, fresh or roasted
Use your imagination!
How to make the classic French Bistro Vinaigrette
Oil and Vinegar don’t mix. The best we can do is encourage them to come together for a little while, which they will do, provided we 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 mixing, stirring or whatever.
The Vinaigrette Formula
The magic ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. As long as you know that, you won't need to consult a vinaigrette recipe ever again. Just remember three parts oil to one part vinegar and you'll be all right.
Different vinegars have different strengths, so the ratio might need to be adjusted somewhat. You also might want a more tart dressing sometimes, and other times something a little milder. For the most part, though, the 3:1 ratio represents the vinaigrette sweet spot.
One of the most common is olive oil. Be sure to use an extra virgin olive oil that does not “compete” in flavor with your vinegar and other ingredients. Infused Olive Oils and other distinctive oils such as pistachio or butternut squash seed oil, etc. create endless variations on the basic vinaigrette formula.
The most neutral flavored vinegar is white vinegar, but we wouldn't likely use this in a vinaigrette. At the very least, use a white wine vinegar. But the flavors and types of specialty vinegar, like balsamic, sherry or raspberry, are as varied and diverse as can be. Cider vinegar is made from apples and is a good choice for fruity vinaigrette.
Lemon juice is a nice component to add to vinaigrette. It's usually used to complement and enhance the vinegar, rather than replacing it altogether. All kinds of juices in vinaigrette, not just lemon — though citrus fruits such as lemon, lime and orange juice are used most commonly because of their high acid content. Orange juice adds sweetness in addition to tartness. Each citrus fruit has its own unique flavor profile, but the overall vinaigrette formula is the same.
A simple vinaigrette doesn't need more seasoning than a bit of Kosher salt and ground pepper. But minced garlic, onion, shallot and herbs (fresh and dried) are often part of the mix, along with spices such as black pepper, celery seed, paprika and so on. Other ingredients, such as mustard or Worcestershire sauce, are not uncommon.
Honey happens to be a great addition to vinaigrette, firstly because it adds sweetness, which is nice sometimes to counterbalance the tartness from your vinegar, citrus or whatever. But also because it helps stabilize the emulsion. Vinaigrette with honey in it will remain emulsified for a long time — certainly longer than it takes to eat a salad. Honey vinaigrettes are great for presentations, where you don't want the oil and vinegar separating all over the plate.
Mixing the Vinaigrette
The most effective way of combining the oil and the vinegar is in a blender. If you don't have a blender, 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 even seal the ingredients in a clean glass jar or 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. Once you've mixed things up, it's nice to let the flavors meld for a while, especially when you go beyond the basic formula and introduce additional ingredients like minced onion, garlic, herbs and so on. Ideally, then, you'd prepare the vinaigrette in advance and then let it sit for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Just don't refrigerate it during this time!