Vinaigrettes are essential to making summer dishes more delicious. Obviously they make lettuces and veggies taste great, but they are capable of way, way more. Vinaigrettes serve as ideal marinades for proteins, turn room temperature grains into satisfying meals, and transform a bowl of chopped up fruit into a luscious dessert. Best of all: they’re dead fucking simple to put together.
Every vinaigrette recipe is a variation on a single template: three parts oil carefully whisked into one part acid. From there, you simply plug and play your favorite tangy liquids with your favorite fats, adding in bits of spices and sweeteners to best suit your fancy and/or your dish.
To improve on the formula, we like to add an emulsifying agent, like mustard, to help keep the dressing stable. That means no more bites of greasy lettuce because your vinaigrette broke and no more careful whisking— you can just throw that shit into a jar and shake it. Laziness-enabling aside, using emulsifiers changes the texture and that makes it taste better. It brings ingredients to your tongue at the same time and lets each of their contrasting qualities simultaneously enhance and restrain the others. The result is consistently unctuous and savory and bold vinaigrettes— instead of dressing that’s occasionally, and unpleasantly, greasy, salty, or astringent.
We’ve shared a few of our favorite recipes below— give them a try and certainly keep your eyes peeled this week for some pretty pictures of what we like to do with them— but don’t be afraid try this out on your own. Vinaigrette is a relatively low-cost, low volume investment for fucking around in the kitchen that yields high-impact flavors and can change a meal for the better. Mess with your favorite flavors and make something all your own.
Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette
Great for green side salads but possibly better as a marinade for grilled chicken.
- (the oil) 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- (the acid) 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- (the emulsifier) 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tsp of bruised Thyme leaves
- A pinch of Salt and plenty of Black Pepper
Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Particularly rad on melons.
- (the oil) 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- (the acid) Juice from 1 Lemon
- (the emulsifier) 1 tbsp Greek Yogurt
- 1-2 tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Poppy Seed
- A pinch of ground Cinnamon (optional)
- A pinch of Salt
Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
On cold noodles, rice pilaf, or a nice thick piece of fish before it hits the pan.
- (the oil)1/3 cup Peanut Oil
- (also the oil)1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- (the acid) 3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- (also the acid) 1 Lime, juice only
- (the emulsifier) 2 tbsp Miso Paste
- 1 thinly sliced Scallion
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds