As spring turns to summer, our eating habits change. We eat lighter and fresher. A sure thing in your cooking repertoire must be a great vinaigrette dressing.
How to Make a Simple Vinaigrette Dressing
Salad lovers know that there are many kinds of vinaigrette dressing – all made with the basic ingredients of mixing oil with something acidic like a vinegar or lemon juice. This mixture is then finished off with salt, herb and/or spices.
It is most commonly used as a salad dressing especially for a green salad, but can also be used as a marinade.
It is easy to make your own home made oil and vinegar dressing – all you need to do is whip a few ingredients together. Shake in a bottle or stir. And taste.
Basic Oil and Vinegar Recipe
All you need to remember is that you must use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts of oil and then add salt/pepper/spices to taste. (Some people prefer half and half)
Now we all know that there are many variations of oil and vinegar to it is up to you and your taste buds to create a variety of vinaigrettes to dress your summer salads.
Vinaigrette Shelf Life
Some people refrigerate salad dressings, some don’t. Since most dressings are oil-based, and we’ve already established oil’s longevity outside the fridge, they should be fine. Mason jars are perfect for salad dressing.
Homemade salad dressings like this usually last about two weeks in the fridge in an airtight container of bottle.
If you are using the dressing on a regular basis, there is no need to refrigerate. The acidity in the vinegar should be enough to keep the dressing stable. However, if you add raw garlic or raw herbal leaves (chopped or otherwise), then I would refrigerate because these lower acidity and can spoil.
Homemade olive oil dressing, when stored correctly, has a longer pantry life than most other oils because of its high monounsaturated fat content. However, it must be stored properly to retain freshness. Store olive oil in a sealed container away from heat and light.
Create a Delicious Balsamic Vinaigrette
So let’s step it up a bit and look at an easy recipe to make balsamic vinaigrette. (Balsamic vinegar has beneficial antioxidants, no fat, and very few calories). Just a note on this vinegar- not all balsamic vinegars taste equally good. If you look for a well-aged balsamic vinegar in a smaller bottle, you will probably get a more textures taste.
The same goes for the olive oil. Extra virgin or light is better for salads as it has a more pleasant flavour.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional or 1 teaspoon honey
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic or minced fresh shallots
½ tablespoon whole grain (Dijon) mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt (sea salt is good. It has a rich mineral content)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
3/4 cup olive oil.
The best way to make this is to mix well in a sealed bottle or jar so you can shake vigorously, or slowly add extra virgin olive oil to your balsamic vinegar in a bowl while whisking vigorously till it has emulsified.
TIP: For a single serving, use one tablespoon each vinegar and oil, a small dab of mustard (about 1/8 teaspoon and just small pinch of salt and pepper.
Summer salads always taste better with a custom made homemade dressing.
Pop into any one of our four stores to look at a selection of mason jars and bottles for salad dressing. We also have a range of beautiful salad bowls, chopping mats/boards and knives as well as bottles for condiments and sauces.