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Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

I am venturing into the land of homemade salad dressings today as I have combined serious craving for salad, balsamic and Grey Poupon. I've never made a dressing at home and so have no idea what ratios are generally used. Does anyone have any tips?

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  1. Easy-peasy, you'll be glad you made your own. A general ratio is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Adapt that to your taste. I usually start with three tablespoons oil and one tablespoon vinegar, one teaspoon dijon mustard if I'm going to use mustard. Balsamic vinegar is quite sweet, you might want to taste before you add honey.

    Once you've made your own vinaigrette, you'll never resort to buying bottled ones.

    Also, here are a couple prior threads on vinaigrettes:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/821358
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664038

    4 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      Are there any spices in particular that you like to add?

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        I like to add fresh basil if I've got it, only rarely fresh garlic (but only because spouse won't eat it with garlic), salt and pepper of course, but no other spices. I've tried dried herbs and don't like them myself. I've used ground cumin in a lime-cilantro vinaigrette. Other than that I keep it pretty simple.

        In addition to using balsamic vinegar, try a good red wine vinegar. If you like a sweeter dressing, I'd be more inclined to sweeten one made with red wine vinegar rather than one with balsamic.

        One of my favorite dressings is to just toss a soft green, like butter lettuce, with apples or pears, blue or gorgonzola cheese and walnuts or pecans. Then toss all with walnut oil, and then toss with Alessi's Fig Vinegar. A vinaigrette like that doesn't get much simpler.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          If I add herbs, I add them to the salad greens, as they wilt when added to the vinaigrette.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            NOT sherry -- sherry vinegar. Sherry might work, though, just have never tried it.

        2. In general the ratio is 1:3 Acid to Oil
          This should be adjusted to personal taste and strength of the Acid used (whether Vinegar or Citrus) Though if you use all citrus it should be a Citronette rather than a Vinaigrette.
          Any herb or other flavoring that you like is fine.
          Garlic is a very common addition as well as Parsley, but Tarragon, Thyme, Shallot, Olives, Anchovies, Citrus Zest,Green Pepper, Parmesan, Chervil Etc... would all be possibilities. Really the variations are endless.

          1. Do you usually chill before serving?

            2 Replies
            1. re: fldhkybnva

              No. Often it will separate and the oil will semi-solidify. Keep at room temp for same day use.
              If you are storing, refrigerate it but allow to warm up a bit before you try to re-emulsify by shaking or whisking.

              1. re: chefj

                I actually use the microwave on defrost setting for about 30 seconds when I'm in a hurry to liquefy vinaigrette that has been refrigerated (say for about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of vinaigrette).

            2. This works beautifully:

              Pour a little out of a bottle of white wine vinegar and push in two or three garlic cloves. Add a sprig or two of tarragon, or a teaspoon of dried, replace what you can of the poured off bit, and leave it for a couple of weeks. Use this to make vinaigrette at 6:1 with EVO (yes, 6 EVO:1 vinegar, it really does work well), salt & pepper. Whisk thoroughly.

              The flavoured vinegar will last for ages.

              Edit: Just realised that this contains no balsamic, honey, or Dijon, which is what you asked about! Sorry, but please try it anyway. All these could be added, if you like. Let us know how you get on please.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robin Joy

                I need to do this, my absolute favourite herb for salad dressings is tarragon.

                1. re: cleopatra999

                  I hope you like it. I prepare a new bottle when I'm about half way through a bottle. Leave the flavourings in the vinegar and the intensity deepens.

              2. Thank you! Delicious, and not just tasty but easy, quick and will likely not be near many bottles of salad dressing. I am a big vinegar fan so did a 2:1 vinegar:oil but made 3:1 oil:vinegar for SO who also greatly enjoyed. It was great dressing for the salad we whipped together - spinach, chicken, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes.