Americans can’t make vinaigrette

January 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Even though we call it vinaigrette, vinegar is not the main ingredient in vinaigrette. I remember this advice from a Provencal cook book: pour faire la sauce de salade, utilisez l’huile comme un prodigue, le vinaigre comme un avare et le sel comme un sage, which would roughly translate to “to make a salad dressing, use oil generously, vinegar like a miser and salt wisely”. To tell, you the truth, I can’t remember what the advice was for salt, but I remember well the other two.

Vinaigrettes in restaurants here in the USA are horribly sour. Way too much vinegar! This is not a true vinaigrette.

Two kinds of vinaigrette: with or without mustard.

Basic mustard vinaigrette recipe:

Mix a spoonful of mustard with a little spoon of vinegar, some salt and pepper (to taste). Little by little, add about four tablespoons or more of oil (olive, sunflower, grapeseed, etc, your preference). Add it slowly as you whip the vinaigrette so that the consistency remains homogenous throughout. The oil should not be separate from the vinegar but you should end up with a thick homogenous dressing.

Basic mustard-less vinaigrette recipe:

Mix about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar/apple cider vinegar/lemon juice with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Done.


Of course, you can add fresh herbs such as tarragon, oregano, or things like tangerine juice or honey to make it sweet, whatever you fancy. You can also cut shallots really fine and briefly infuse them in vinegar and seasonings, then add the oil of your choice. You can add crushed garlic in any of these too.


We also have a popular salad dressing made with soy sauce, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and an optional dash of vinegar.


At any rate, just remember, in your salad dressings, use your vinegar like a miser.


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