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Basic Vinaigrette with 15 Simple Additions

1/4-cup good vinegar (sherry, balsamic, red or white wine) plus more to taste
1/2-teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
3/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons minced shallots (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Briefly mix the vinegar, salt, and optional mustard using whisk, blender or food processor.
2. Slowly add the oil in a stream (drop by drop if whisking) until an emulsion forms. Add the remaining oil faster but still in a stream.
3. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and add the optional shallots. This is best made fresh but will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

Fifteen Simple Additions to Vinaigrettes
1. Any fresh or dried herb: 1 teaspoon fresh per cup
2. Minced fresh ginger: 1 teaspoon per cup
3. Minced fresh garlic: 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per cup
4. Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or other liquid seasonings: 1 tablespoon per cup
5. Honey or other sweeteners: 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon per cup
6. Who grain mustards: 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon per cup
7. Cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes, or minced fresh chilies: up to 1/2 teaspoon per cup
8. Crushed coriander seeds: 1 teaspoon per cup
9. Freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese, or crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese: Minimum 1 tablespoon per cup.
10. Minced cucumber or fennel: 1/4 cup per cup (increase the liquids a bit)
11. Minced pickles, preferably cornichons: 1/4 – 1/8 cup per cup
12. Sour cream, yogurt or pureed soft tofu: 2 tablespoons per cup
13. Prepared or freshly grated horseradish: 1 teaspoon per cup
14. Ground spices such as curry powder, five-spice powder, or nutmeg: very small quantities
15. Minced tomatoes or ripe avocado

Source: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman 1998

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