A couple of months ago while I was the store, I began the tedious hunt for my favorite salad dressing, balsamic vinaigrette. Looking for a vinaigrette went about as well as winning the lottery has gone for me. Yeah, that explains it all, right? I look down the aisle and all I can see are bottles with faces of roman characters, labels where all the money goes to charity, celebrity chef’s dressings, and a simple label for a store off-brand dressing.
Yet, most of these bottles had one common problem, the number of ingredients doesn’t make sense! One variety had 17 ingredients in it! Are you kidding? I thought to myself. I scowled at the Roman God on my way out of the aisle, checked out, and set out to make a dressing that would cost less than and rival any store bought bottle, and would be assuredly better for me than 11 extra ingredients I didn’t need. I am happy to say that I won’t ever need to buy balsamic dressing from the store any time soon.
How do you make this delicious concoction? Follow this recipe:
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 ½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾-1 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Add all ingredients above to the blender as well as 1/4 cup of the olive oil, reserving 1/2 – 3/4 of the olive oil. I have a Vitamix blender, but use what you have at hand. Once you’ve incorporated the first 1/4 of olive oil and the other ingredients, begin slowly drizzling the remaining olive oil into the blender until all the ingredients are emulsified.
Don’t have a blender? No problem! You can do this by hand pretty easily but it can take a bit longer for all the ingredients to emulsify. Just add all the ingredients, but slowly drizzle the oil in a small steady stream and whisk until it starts to come together. The visual cues will be clear, when the dressing begins to come together the color will begin to change as you whisk, and lastly, you will notice that the mixture thickens.
I included the visual cues because so often recipes don’t do an adequate job describing what it should look like, smell like, feel like, and so on. That is one thing in lots of recipes that drives me crazy.
Okay, time for a couple of photos.
Here is the finished balsamic in a mason jar. Just put a lid on it and it can hang out on the counter and be perfectly stable.
Here is another look at the mason jar from a different angle. This yields around a cup and a half of dressing.
Make sure you taste this because sometimes you need to adjust the seasoning. Try using a piece of lettuce dipped in the dressing to check the level of seasoning, or a piece of bread will do nicely. Sometimes I add a splash of lime juice for a fruity undertone. Remember, if the balsamic seems super strong you can thin it with a little more olive oil, or vice-versa if you aren’t getting that balsamic note. As with most of my recipes, adjust accordingly.
Looking for a new twist for how to use this vinaigrette? Try making a baked potato with a little sour cream, and finish with a drizzle of vinaigrette and some salt and pepper. Truthfully this is one of my favorite ways to use the balsamic. You could also use this for a slaw if you aren’t a fan of mayo based dressings or just a regular potato salad. Again, you can use this for anything.