Discovering Vinaigrette

Discovering Vinaigrette

When I was a kid my best friends mother would take us to Blimpie’s for sandwiches as a treat. He would get a Blimpie’s best and I would order a turkey and cheese with lettuce, tomato and whatever other fixings that they could fit on it. 

You knew you were in for a treat when you would see your tailor made hero in two horizontal halves at the end of the counter and the sandwich artist would point to the Oregano and give you a look, we’d shake our head yes. He’d sprinkle the oregano, then salt and pepper, and finally hold up his squeeze bottle containing this mystery liquid. 

In this bottle I could see different color liquids that were separated, furthering the mystery of what was inside and simultaneously blowing my 10 year old mind. He’d look at me while slowly arching his eyebrows up as to say, you game? Only the true sandwich connoisseur knows about this. Salivating with hunger and excitement, we’d both nod our heads yes. He would then shake it vigorously and it made a sound like magic was being made, he would then douse our sandwiches, while we watched all the ingredients come alive. He wrapped up this masterpiece and handed it to us setting off the countdown of impatience till we got home and could eat it. 

The whole ride home I’m wiping drool off my face, practicing the patience that my mother ingrained in me.  When we finally got home and inhaled our sandwiches, we would sit and with each bite and wonder what set the  sandwich apart from anything our parents made at home. 

Fast forward several years and my friend came to me and said, “I know what’s in that bottle the they squirt on the sandwich, its Salad Dressing”…..And I’m all like “Hmmmm…. really….. wow…” This was the day I first learned of the amazing creation called vinaigrette. 

Nowadays when we order a sandwich its commonplace to add oil and vinegar at the end. But oil and vinegar separate is just that, oil and vinegar. But oil combined with vinegar, shaken, stirred or blended together is an emulsion and that emulsion is a vinaigrette which gives you a completely different flavor profile and mouthfeel. Once you know the easy steps to make your vinaigrettes at home you are now taking your sandwiches, salads and other dishes to new levels with full control. So let’s start with the principles of simple vinaigrette making.

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Vinaigrette

Quick, easy, all purpose dressing
Course Salad
Prep Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  • Grab a Jar with a lid, a mason jar would be perfect.
  • If you have lemons on hand, you are making lemon vinaigrette, if you have red wine vinegar on hand its red wine vinaigrette.  All good! 
  • Here's the general rule of thumb :
    1 part acid to three parts oil. So for 1 cup of vinaigrette its 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar and 3/4 cups of oil. I prefer first cold pressed olive oil for this but you can use any oil you like baring in mind flavor and health. 
  • Pour both ingredients into a jar and add a nice pinch of salt and Black Pepper. 
  • Shake vigorously,  open and taste. Adjust your seasoning to your liking and you have successfully made a vinaigrette. 
  • Now to that same jar you can add dijon mustard and honey, herbs, fruit juice, chilis, … whatever flavor you are going for you can achieve it with this process.
  • Final tip! A touch of mayonnaise will tone down acidity if you are sensitive and it's a great emulsifier to help with consistency.

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