Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Best Dressed

I'm a total salad dressing snob, and after years of trying every bottled dressing in the supermarket (and hating them all), I finally started making my own. It's super easy, inexpensive, tastes so much better, and is much much healthier than the trans-fatty, preservative-filled junk at the supermarket (have I mentioned that I don't like bottled dressing from the supermarket?)

The basic ingredients of a vinaigrette are oil, vinegar, and mustard. The mustard serves as an emulsifier- it bonds to both the vinegar and oil to help them stay mixed together. I use a rough ratio of 1 part vinegar (of your choice- my faves are red wine and balsamic) to 2 parts oil (I love olive oil, but canola is fine) with a couple spoonfuls of mustard, but you should experiment and find the ratio you like.

Try to use the best quality ingredients you can find- with recipes this simple, nice olive oil and tasty dijon mustard will make all the difference. Add some salt and pepper to your liking, and whip it up with a whisk or a fork. It'll taste fantastic all on it's own, or you can experiment with any of the following add-ins: chopped garlic, red onion or shallots, fresh herbs (parsley, basil, chervil, chives, thyme, sage, tarragon, rosemary- whatever you want to try), lemon, honey... heck, throw in the kitchen sink.

Make a batch in an old jar with a lid (or pour out that supermarket dressing and use that bottle), and keep it in the fridge- it will last for weeks (the vinegar acts as a preservative) and actually tastes better as it ages and the flavors all mingle. Salad snobs rejoice!

Lily's Shallot Vinaigrette
3 chopped shallots
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients (except the olive oil) together with a fork. Stir the olive oil in last. Yum!

1 comment:

tiana16 said...

As a Charmed-Friend and sometimes sous-chef to this fabulous lady (ok, more like side prep kitchen assistant - but can't a girl dream?), I can testify that this salad dressing is FAN-friggin'-amazing! TRY IT!