The Learn To Cook series encourages home cooks to learn the techniques needed for guaranteed success in the kitchen, sponsored by the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School. Start a free trial membership today.
Making vinaigrette is essential to any home cook’s repertoire—from beginner to advanced. Vinaigrette is also a great example of a simple emulsion, or two ingredients that don’t normally mix (like oil and vinegar). Add our Foolproof Vinaigrette to your weeknight routine to liven up meats and poached or steamed vegetables, in addition to your favorite salad.
3 EASY STEPS
For our Foolproof Vinaigrette, we start with 1 1/2 tsp minced shallot. With a more delicate flavor than an onion, the shallot adds flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients. Combine shallots, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in small nonreactive bowl. The mayonnaise and mustard act as emulsifiers, ingredients that keep the vinegar suspended in tiny droplets.
Mix the ingredients together until milky in consistency and no lumps remain. Since the recipe contains vinegar, an acidic ingredient, be sure to use a nonreactive bowl, like glass or stainless steel. (A bowl made from copper or untreated steel would react to the vinegar and give the dressing a metallic tang.)
Next, using a small bowl or measuring cup (for easy pouring), slowly whisk 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil into the mixture. Since you will be pouring with one hand and constantly whisking with the other, you can wrap a kitchen towel around the base of the bowl to stabilize it. If any pools of oil start to form on the top, simply stop adding oil until it is well combined. Once the oil is fully combined, the dressing should be glossy and thickened, with no remaining pockets of oil. This recipe will yield 1/4 cup of dressing, or enough to dress 8 to 10 cups of greens.