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Old 08-06-2007, 07:52 PM   #1
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Vinaigrette Dressing

I just made a vinegarett dressing and it was AWFUL. I used extra vigin olive oil, regular vinegar, a little onion, dijon mustard, and salt & pepper. The ratio was 1 part vinegar to 4 parts oil.

Any clues what went wrong? It was way too tart. Should I not use EVOO?



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Old 08-06-2007, 07:56 PM   #2
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Odds are it was the vinegar. Try a Red Wine vinegar, or a White Wine vinegar. They're a little sweeter, and smoother, than that harsh distilled vinegar.

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Old 08-06-2007, 08:16 PM   #3
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Cooking Cop, I never use regular white distilled or cider vinegar in my vinaigrettes. It's usually some type of wine vinegar.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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I use all kinds of vinegars for vinaigrettes including sherry and champagne vinegar.If your vinaigrette is too harsh try adding some orange juice or a pinch or two of sugar to tone it down works good on the simple ones.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:11 PM   #5
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You also want 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, not 4. I think cider vinegar will work just fine but try red wine vinegar, balsamic, or even just fresh lemon juice (or a combo of lemon and red wine vinegar).

Also, I would forget the onion and use finely minced garlic. A very basic vinaigrette would be:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or balsamic or sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar, which is different that white vinegar)
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic finely minced
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil to 3/4 cup olive oil (taste after 1/2 cup)

Put your vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Once everything is blended SLOWLY drizzle in your olive oil in a VERY thin stream. You may even need someone to hold the bowl for you. By doing the olive oil in a thin stream your vinaigrette will emulsify and start to thicken. As you go along you can add the olive oil faster but make sure you keep whisking to incorporate the oil at all times.

Taste after you have added maybe 1/2 cup of the olive oil. If it is still too tart add the rest of the oil, whisking the remainder of the time.

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Old 08-07-2007, 06:14 AM   #6
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KitchenElf has a great recipe. The only thing I would do different (sorry!) is to use shallot instead of garlic. Raw garlic can be rather harsh, but shallot will give you a nice oniony/garlicky flavor without the harshness.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:00 AM   #7
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I have never used onion or shallots in a vinegraitte salad dressing. I use garlic with a good grade olive oil, red wine, or champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and it is wonderful!!! I don't know what kind of vinegar the original poster used because I don't know what she means by "regular" vinegar.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:48 AM   #8
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You can do kitchenelf's recipe in the blender as well. Blend all the ingredients except the oil then drizzle the oil into the blender while it's running.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:17 AM   #9
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Since a basic vinaigrette is so simple to make, and best fresh (IMO), I usually make just enough for my immediate needs and prepare it at the last minute.

In the bottom of my salad bowl I whisk together white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard (approx. 4:1 ratio), add in a pinch of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, then I whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream until it has reached the taste and consistency I like, which is usually 2 or 3 parts oil, to 1 part acid (I prefer my vinaigrette on the tart side.) BTW, setting your bowl on a cloth will help keep the bowl steady as you whisk with one hand and drizzle in the oil with the other

To taste-test I dip a leaf green in the vinaigrette as this gives a better idea of how the salad with taste, then I adjust seasoning or the oil acid ratio if needed. When adding herbs I do so at the end.

Naturally, the quality of the ingredients will greatly affect the results. I know this sounds obvious but in a simple vinaigrette where you are basically showcasing 2 ingredients, the quality of the oil and vinegar can be the difference between "yuck", "it's good" and "wow!"


*edited for clarity
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:13 AM   #10
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You can make K-elf's recipe in a jar, too. Just shake it up. The mustard helps emulsify it.

Since you thought your 4:1 ratio was too tart, I would recommend switching to a wine or sherry vinegar and leaving your oil to vinegar ratio at 4:1. 3:1 would make it even more acidic. Plus, you can always add more vinegar.

A pinch of sugar does help tome down the acid.

It's really a very easy thing to make once you get thet hang of it, so keep trying!

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