Please close your eyes, gloppy half used bottle of Trader Joe’s Green Goddess. Stop looking at me that way expired Cindy’s Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette that I bought at Costco last spring. It couldn’t be helped. We all knew that one day we’d have to part ways. That day is here.
Today, for the first time, I made vinaigrette. From scratch. With all natural, fresh ingredients that I already had in my pantry. Imagine! Being able to create something totally delicious from the stuff that sits patiently on the pantry shelves, waiting to become your newest creation. Vinaigrette is one of those things that’s so ridiculously easy to make that, once done, you’re not quite sure why you’ve never done this before.
If ever a recipe begged for experimentation, it’s vinaigrette. Don’t hesitate to branch out from this basic recipe, adding chopped basil for color, garlic for tang or shallots for a hint of sweetness. Above all, embrace the idea of making your own salad dressing (your friends will ooh and ah like you won’t believe; not that that’s the point of home cooking, right?!).
Essentially vinaigrette is this: salt, vinegar, oil. Three things, people! Upon that most basic of foundations you then build your creation, swapping out different vinegars, oils, even salts to discover a new taste. Try Dijon mustard, some honey for sweetness, then some basil or garlic, maybe mayo instead of mustard if you like creamier dressings. Sub out vinegar for another acid – say citrus juice – and you’ve got a marinade.
Experiment! That’s why we’re here. This is the kind of thing that almost seems like a parlor trick it’s so easy. Let’s get started. (One last thing…if ever a recipe was deserving of the most perfect of ingredients, it’s this, where you taste every flavor.)
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
3 tbsp. good white balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Start small. Place 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons honey and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a small glass bowl; whisk together to combine.
Watch as the mustard dissolves into the vinegar; the honey will begin to create a thicker dressing. Taste and add more mustard and/or vinegar if needed.
Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking; watch as your dressing becomes creamy – you’ve emulsified your dressing. Enjoy!