The Art of Vinaigrette

Simple salad, simple dressing. YUM.

Vinaigrette is amazing stuff. It’s simple, tasty, and goes with everything. You can buy it, if you want, but if you make your own, you can proportion it the way you like it, with the vinegars and olive oils that you like, and it’s always fresh. You can make it in the quantity you need — you don’t even need a recipe, really.

Traditionally, it’s made with three parts olive oil and one part vinegar. I don’t know why you would do it that way. I wouldn’t. In its simplest form, it’s oil whisked with vinegar, with a little mustard to emulsify. Past that, you can add whatever you want. I like salt and pepper, but you can add whatever you want. Spices, herbs, you do you.

Like everything simple, it’s not that simple. Let’s talk about basalmic vinegar.

If you don’t like it, it’s ok. It’s possible you’ve never really had it. Traditionally made basalmic vinegar is probably not at your grocery store, and it probably isn’t in your bottled basalmic vinaigrette. Mass produced basalmic vinegar is a different animal. If you like it, eat it. If you don’t, find the good stuff. It’s made from pressed grapes and aged in barrels, like wine, for a year, sometimes decades. You can spend as much as you want on this stuff, but you can get good stuff without selling plasma.

Look at my pasta maker, there in the back.

Enter The Natural Olive. Nope, not sponsored. I’m just a fan. If you are in North Carolina, and you are prepared for a foodie experience, head toward Hickory or Morganton and stop in. It’s just vats of olive oils and real basalmic vinegars with little plates of bread. Taste everything. They will help you if you know what you’re going to make, but, really, it’s all about what you like. If you’re not close, you can order online.

Sure, you can make vinagrette with plain olive oil and vinegar, and people will eat it. But why not early Picual Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Fig Infused Traditional Basalmic. This stuff will roll your eyes back in your head. The dark chocolate will make grown men weep. Put it on strawberries and eat it in the dark. It’s all the stimulation you can handle.

This image is only here because I thought it looked cool.

The point is, at least get good basalmic. It’s currently $14.99 for 200 ml, which sounds like a lot. Maybe it is. But you won’t need much. If you have to choose one or the other, get your olive oil at the grocery store, but order your vinegar. It really makes a difference.

So. I go half and half, vinegar and oil. A bit of mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk. Put on everything. Eat with a spoon. It’s rich and sweet and tangy, relatively healthy, it even smells delicious. There are infinite variations, according to taste. Enjoy!

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