HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Are you making a specialty food?

Vinaigrette recipe

Dark Wanderer Nov 2, 2009 04:58 AM

Anyone has a recipe for a simple vinaigrette? Coz I love to chow on lettuce these days and its only companion is a bottle of dijonnaise I bought on a supermarket (I love its sourly kick). I've already bought extra virgin olive oil, some yellow mustard (can't find a dijon mustard), and an apple cider vinegar.

The simpler the recipe the better. Thanks!

  1. hotoynoodle Nov 2, 2009 05:22 AM

    depending on the quantity you want to make? start with a few tablespoonsful of the vinegar. add a dash of salt, pepper and either sugar or honey. stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. add about twice as much oil as you have vinegar. whisk briskly. add a good spoonful of the mustard, and since you're using yellow mustard, i'd add some fresh lemon juice too. it may separate if it sits, but either shake or stir it back together.

    do this by taste. you may like it sweeter or more tart. i also use either rice or sherry vinegar rather than apple cider.

    are you in the states? i find it curious you can't find dijon since kraft owns grey poupon now.

    1. l
      lexpatti Nov 2, 2009 05:36 AM

      OMG, I'm a vinagretter freak these days - I could eat 5 salads a day just by changing the dressing - I'm not into store bought anymore (except for guests). I learned recently that you just want an acid and oil (and sweet if you like that). Lately I love:
      * oil, lemon juice (sometimes add honey or agava nector) - s&p
      * oil, soy sauce or tamari, honey, splash of rice vinegar - MY FAV!!!!
      * oil, dijon, lil vinegar (and sometimes sweetness)
      * oil, lime juice, honey, s&p
      * oil, balmamic, honey, s&p

      1. chicgail Nov 2, 2009 05:36 AM

        I learned a simple rule of thumb when I was first married that has served me well.

        To start, I rub the bottom of the salad bowl with the cut side of a garlic clove and sprinkle it with salt. The salt absorbs the garlic juice.
        Then I add to the bottom of the bowl:
        3 parts oil
        1 part acid (vinegar/lemon juice, etc.)
        small bit of mustard to hold it together.
        And then add anything else you want -- anchovy paste, cheese, herbs, etc.and mix it with the salad spoon until it comes together. You can do this in a bowl or a blender, but I don't see the need to get something else dirty.

        I usually use 1T oil and 1t acid for each person I'm serving

        This is an incredibly easy and versatile formula. Use any oil. I usually use EVOO, but walnut oil, grapeseed oil, even mayo makes a good base.
        The acid -- wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, citrus juice, etc. adds to the versatility.
        And then that little bit of mustard -- and I vary that as well (dijon, sometimes yellow, honey mustard, etc) helps to hold the oil and vinegar in an emulsion.

        1. Restaurant Dish Nov 2, 2009 05:42 AM

          I think the OP is from Phillipines as per their profile, so maybe it's difficult to get dijon. See if you can get mustard powder there, DW, it may be a bit better than the yellow mustard.

          Basically the ratio has always been 3:1. Three parts oil to one part acid, (vinegar, lemon juice etc). It's obviously all to taste so play around with it for a bit to see what you like best. Personally, I like a tarter vinaigrette so I actually go 3:2. The beauty of making your own vinaigrette is of course you know what's in it but can also add in anything else you like: cheese, herbs, bacon, list can go on for days.

          I use variations all the time, sometimes depending on the season, sometimes depending on the type of salad. For example when I make a refreshing salad of lettuce, orange segments and fennel, I sometimes use less red wine vinegar and put in a little of the orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper etc.

          My base tends to always be this though: olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots, mustard powder/dijon, salt and pepper, and a fresh herb. Then, again depending on the type of salad, I'll add in any "extras" that I like.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Restaurant Dish
            hazelhurst Nov 2, 2009 06:22 AM

            I always use Coleman's Eglish Mustard and a bit of garlic, plus chives. That's what I used to eat on hearts of palm back in the 1960's.

            1. re: hazelhurst
              PBSF Nov 2, 2009 07:22 AM

              Coleman's English Mustard that comes in a small yellow can is a "hot" mustard. A pinch is ok but too much will gives one's sinus a good jolt.

              1. re: PBSF
                hazelhurst Nov 2, 2009 10:24 AM

                Yes, it is a very hot mustard...some kid at an Indy 500 party slathered a tablespoon on roast beef and was last seen going thru the roof.

            2. re: Restaurant Dish
              Dark Wanderer Nov 2, 2009 08:45 AM

              Yes you're right, im form the Philippines, I don't know but i've already searched out at least 3supermarkets but no luck in finding a dijon mustard. What's the difference on it btw? What if I use cane vinegar as an acid + lemon juice? Will it make any difference?

              1. re: Dark Wanderer
                Restaurant Dish Nov 2, 2009 09:39 AM

                Well, I used regular yellow mustard once in my vinaigrette and I just couldn't get past the taste of it being yellow mustard, it just somehow didn't fit. The mustard powder I find is a bit more subtle, though as some mentioned can be 'spicy' (which I like) just as a good dijon has a bit of a bite. I wouldn't worry too much about the mustard, it's nice to have to it because it gives it a 'creaminess' to the dressing as well as the added flavor.

                As for cane vinegar, not sure I've never tried it but you can definitely try. I'm assuming it's made from cane sugar, so maybe it's a bit on the sweet side?

                I use lemon juice for more of the 'bitter' greens like escarole, endive etc. and usually add some parmesan or ricotta salata (hard, salty cheese).

                Try it with a few different acids to see what you like best. My staple is always red wine vinegar when I'm using a vinegar but I use balsamic sometimes.

                You're making me 'crave' salads now!

                1. re: Restaurant Dish
                  Dark Wanderer Nov 2, 2009 10:32 AM

                  I was trying to make one ever since I tasted one. It was so good that I was literally drinking it! I'll just try it 1st with my ingredients that I have and tell the results later (hope its not as bad as I think).

            3. chef chicklet Nov 2, 2009 07:13 AM

              Adding citrus to the vinagrette is my favorite way to go. I don't measure and I don't use the recipes because I think they usually have too much oil and I prefer the citrus and vinagrette (the acids) more so. Adding fresh is nice, chives and a bit of fresh basil or oregano, but sometimes the dried versions work better in the vinagrette because they seem to bloom in the liquid. I also like to add fresh garlic very finely smooshed and chopped. You can strain it out or leave it if you're going to eat it all within a couple of days. Any longer and you should toss. Of course you need to refrigerate it too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chef chicklet
                danna Nov 2, 2009 07:34 AM

                I don't like a super-oily vinaigrette either. I don't really measure, but I know that I DO use a much higher ratio of oil to vinegar BUT I add a juice that fills out the vinaigrette with out using so much oil. My process looks like:

                Chopped shallot and mustard in the blender. Add honey and vinegar, maybe some lemon juice. Blend. Then add reduced apple cider, reduced orange juice, muscadine syrup (from my vines) , etc. Then start adding oil drop by drop w/ the blender going to get a good emulsion. taste for salt , sweet, acid and correct as needed.

              2. chowser Nov 2, 2009 08:57 AM

                Does anyone just dress the salad w/ the ingredients and not make vinaigrette ahead? I add oil, toss to coat the greens. Then add vinegar, and everything else, mustard, citrus, etc. I taste as I go along. SInce vinaigrette separates so quickly, it's hard for me to get the taste of the whole thing in a bottle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser
                  chicgail Nov 2, 2009 09:01 AM

                  I mix just enough dressing up in the bottom of the bowl before I throw in other ingredients and toss it.

                2. lollya Nov 2, 2009 10:37 AM

                  my favorite is olive oil, rice vinegar, raw sugar, smidge of mustard, salt, pepper, minced shallots and raspberries whipped into it.

                  1. d
                    Dark Wanderer Nov 9, 2009 03:38 AM

                    Already tried making one with apple cider vinegar, boy what a smell! The vinegar smells in the whole kitchen! Then I add spicy brown mustard (as shown on the label), salt and pepper then olive oil. I also added sugar and the smell somewhat disappears, though I don't understand the taste. I really don't know what went wrong, should I add more sugar? mustard? or olive oil?

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Dark Wanderer
                      chicgail Nov 9, 2009 04:29 AM

                      I don't know about the smell -- maybe you just got used to it, but you shouldn't need sugar if your proportions of oil to vinegar are 3:1.

                      1. re: chicgail
                        Dark Wanderer Nov 9, 2009 06:53 AM

                        So should I add more oil to it? I really want my vinaigrette to be somewhat sweet, im thinking of adding lemon on it. How would you know if you have already added enough mustard?

                        1. re: Dark Wanderer
                          chicgail Nov 9, 2009 07:55 AM

                          Adding lemon is not going to make it sweeter, of course. If you want a sweetish dressing, sugar (or honey or maple syrup) make sense, but it doesn't impact the 3:1 ratio of oil to acid. That seems to be what you need for balance.

                          Regarding mustard, it serves two purposes: it helps to hold the dressing together and it adds a little bite. The best way to know if you'd added enough is to taste the dressing. If you want more mustard bite, add more. Normally, I use @ 1/4 teaspoon mustard to 2 - 3 tablespoons oil and 2-3 teaspoons vinegar. That's enough for my taste.

                          1. re: chicgail
                            Dark Wanderer Nov 9, 2009 08:27 AM

                            The reason I want to add lemon to it is to combat the punget smell of the cider vinegar, though it already mellows as I add sugar on to it. Does the dressing should be somewhat oilier thats why the ratio is 3:1?

                            1. re: Dark Wanderer
                              hotoynoodle Nov 9, 2009 08:33 AM

                              i don't personally care for ratios that high. i'm more like 2:1.

                              honestly, if you don't like the smell of the apple cider vinegar, you're not going to like your dressing. the flavor isn't going to disappear no matter how much sugar you add. i'd chuck it and start over with a vinegar you like.

                              dijon mustard also contains vinegar and wine, which adds to the acids in the dressing.

                              1. re: Dark Wanderer
                                chicgail Nov 9, 2009 08:47 AM

                                It's not so much about oily as the flavor of the oil dilutes the acidity of the dressing and give you a better balance.

                                It may be that other people's suggestions that you try a vinegar other than cider would help. Apple cider vinegar is great for some things, but it's a little strong for a vinaigrette dressing. You can get away with a 2:1 ratio with a much milder vinegar. I might consider coming close to 2:1 with a balsamic, for example.

                                I think hotoynoodle is right. Chuck what you've made. Mark it up to experience and learning and start over with a less pungent vinegar. BTW, lemon juice can be wonderful.

                                1. re: chicgail
                                  Dark Wanderer Nov 9, 2009 08:50 AM

                                  Ok thanks! I'll try it again, this time with lemon and maybe more accurate with the measurements.

                                  1. re: Dark Wanderer
                                    chicgail Nov 9, 2009 09:06 AM

                                    Let us know how it comes out!

                        2. re: Dark Wanderer
                          hotoynoodle Nov 9, 2009 08:25 AM

                          apple vinegar has a very distinct smell and flavor. mostly i use it only for pork braises. rice vinegar is my preference for everyday dressing.

                          try dissolving the salt and the sugar in the vinegar before adding other stuff. this will incorporate the flavors better.

                          can you find dry chinese mustard powder?

                          more of everything will help mask the apple cider and more sugar will make it sweeter. acids, like lemon, balance sweet, don't increase it.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                            greygarious Nov 9, 2009 09:18 AM

                            I agree with the rice vinegar recommendation. I started making my own dressings when I realized how much I was spending on bottled. Cider vinegar was too strong - even white vinegar was better than cider (although I like cider vinegar for braised cabbage). Rice vinegar has a smooth tang.

                            Years ago I used to buy Good Seasons packets but didn't like the result, no matter what vinegar, or lemon juice, I used, until I cut the oil in half and then filled the remainder of the cruet with water. The seasoning was just too concentrated for me.

                        3. GretchenS Nov 9, 2009 08:03 AM

                          The recipe given in the first post in this thread has become my go-to vinaigrette. No reason why you couldn't add some mustard although I too think dry mustard powder would be better than yellow if you can't get Dijon. Apple cider vinegar is pretty pungent -- love it on braised greens, find it a bit much for salad dressing. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/337106

                          Show Hidden Posts