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Question about vinaigrette

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I was staying with a family friend last week in Vienna, and we made a caprese salad. It was delicious, with tomatoes, cheese, Parm ham, chopped basil and a great vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I was planning on making it for myself, but I was wondering if any of you know the exact or approximate quantities or proportions of olive oil and balsamiuc vinegar for a dressing? I am on a budget, and cant really afford to waste a whole recipe of salad or even a batch of balsamic vinegar (the one I buy is pretty expensive).

If it helps, he used the same vinaigrette for a salad of coarsely chopped grilled peppers and pecorino cheese, which was also delicious.

Thanks!

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  1. Depending on how much you want, put like 1/4 to 1/3 c. of balsamic in a bowl. Add a little Dijon mustard and whisk them together. Then start drizzling in oil like you were making mayo. You'll probably use at least 3/4 c. Keep stopping to taste, and when it seems right to you, you're done. Whisk in a little salt and pepper. I like to add a finely chopped shallot as well.

    1. Start with a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar and adjust from there. Or, you can toss things in the oil until everything just barely glistens, then add vinegar to taste.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        Since balsamic can be quite strong-flavored, try starting with a ratio of four parts oil to one part vinegar first; if not astringent enough you can add more vinegar or a splash of lemon.

        For a plated caprese salad drizzle vinegar lightly over all, add salt and pepper, then drizzle olive oil lightly, rather than mix a vinaigrette. I do this often in the summer with the freshest tomatoes sliced and arranged on a plate, sprinkled with S&P and a chiffonade of fresh basil. Nothing better!

        1. re: janniecooks

          I would start with 4:1 also since you have sood vinegar.

          http://stores.ebay.com/The-Slippery-M...

          1. re: LaLa

            Yep, 4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, less is more. Add a dollop of dijon mustard and a smattering of minced shallot, s&p. Fresh herbs are a nice addition too.

      2. Adding the vinegar and dijon to the bowl and whisking together first, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk is the better approach since that is how you emulsify the ingredients. I also add salt, pepper, a little sugar, and sometimes some dried herbs or microplaned garlic before adding oil too. No need to memorize any ratios of vingegar to oil as you can taste as you go after adding some oil - your preference may be different than others on how much oil is appropriate as well. If you start with oil and add vinegar, it won't emulsify.

        Once you learn to make one simple vinagrette, you can make different ones using other vinegars and stop buying bottled dressings.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LStaff

          «I also add salt, pepper, a little sugar, and sometimes some dried herbs or microplaned garlic before adding oil too.»

          Yep. Salt and, if you use it, sugar should be dissolved in the vinegar before the oil is added, as neither dissolves in oil.

        2. I understand you are on a budget, and cant really afford to waste a whole recipe of salad or even a batch of balsamic vinegar. No problem. One of the great rules of cooking taste,taste ,taste and vinaigrette is so forgiving. Need more bite a little more vinegar too strong mellow it out with a little more olive oil.
          The Dijon will help the dressing emulsify( get thick and stay that way). S&P on just about everything. Just relax a tense cook make bitter dressing. You wont waste anything just taste and correct until you get it just as you like it. No bottle can do that.

          1. Alright. I will start with a 4 to 1 ratio, mix a small dollop of mustard and adjust to taste.

            I am still travelling, but I will try as soon as I get back home. Not much opportunity to cook when travelling in hostels, gah.

            Thanks!

            1. Cooks Illustrated did a test on supermarket balsamics and mentions that in a vinaigrette, using your expensive vinegar is foolish and suggest that you save it for uses where the vinegar needs to shine. They recommend several brands which are reasonable and do well in a salad dressing.