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Jul 26, 2011 01:53 PM

A Perfect Vinaigrette

The NY Times has a video of Melissa Clark making vinaigrettes. I am with her all the way until she gets to the part where she dresses the salad right in the bowl. I was always taught to dress a salad the following way: rub the bowl with a piece of crushed garlic, add the greens, toss throughly with olive oil, add salt, and finally, the acid, whether vinegar or lemon juice or whatever. In particular, I was taught to never put salt on the greens until they had throughly been coated with oil lest the salt wilt the greens. Melissa Clark has you toss the lettuce with vinegar first, add the salt and then add the oil. To me, this is a prescription for limp salad.

Here is the link:

How do you dress your salad in the bowl?

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  1. I make the whole dressing in the bowl first. If it was a mustard shallot vinaigrette I would put finely chopped shallot and garlic in the bowl, mix into paste with mustard, salt and pepper, add vinegar and stir and then add olive oil is a stream whisking until I had the emulsion I was looking for. If I was going to eat it right away, I would then add washed and dried cold greens, toss and taste for seasoning. If I was going to wait, I would put bowl with dressing in frig until ready to add greens, toss and serve.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123


      Salting the salad shouldn't wilt the leaves, but tossing with vinegar first will.

      To dress a salad you should put the dressing in the bowl, then add the greens and toss to coat (this will coat the most even).

    2. I make my dressings in a jar first, then dress the salad in the bowl. This gives me a way to emulsify if needed and to adjust taste before dressing the greens. I don't have tried and true formulas. All dressings and meals in general are done off the cuff.

      1. If it's possible I'll make the vinaigrette on the salad, just because it's simpler. Only rule as far as order and stuff for me is to thoroughly toss it with a hand and serve immediately.

        I can see the mechanics of salt and acids wilting the greens, but... I'm thinking a considerable amount of time is needed.