About.. Vinaigrettes

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So the ratio is 3 parts fat to 1 part acid.

That's what I started the day with.. and oh man.. did I go off the rails. I did a straight up lemon juice with 1/2 canola oil and 1/2 olive oil.. what a horrible flavor that was. I added honey, red win vinegar, and chopped basil and lemon zest along with about a tbsp of sugar.

I whisked and whisked.. and it sort of seemed OK.. it wasn't great.

What in the hell is a vinaigrette?

To me.. it should be like a salad dressing.. but there is no way that is happening without a blender because 3 parts oil to 1 part acid means.. liquid.. even if I use a whisk. Do I need a blender because this stuff is weak?!

That was for my cucumber noodles..

For fish and chicken.. I ended up making a warm vinagrette with tangerine juice.. shallot.. and garlic..

It was liquid.. as a 3 to 1 ratio.. I mounted it with butter to make it a sauce.. (no way it was thick enough otherwise) im not sure what is going on.. im using.. Michael Ruhlman’s book on ratios.
 
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phatch

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Imho, the ratio varies with the strength of the acid. Stronger acids will often go 4::1. Weaker acid 2::1. When you're working with the products of nature things can vary. Some lemons are weaker, some stronger. Lemons tend to be fairly strongly acidic. It's best to taste along the way so you can stop at the right point.

Oil can enter into it too. Using only EVOO can be too strong. Use a neutrall oil for most of the fat, and accent with a stronger oil.
 
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Olive oil is out in my round.. I want canola.

Chefs.. what am I looking for? Salad dressing? .. the sauce is thin.. at 3 to 1..

Maybe I need them into a blender?
 
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I only use olive oil and add either red wine vinegar or balsamic in general but I also keep sherry, and white wine vinegar on hand as well. To make it into an emulsion start with the vinegar in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil as you drizzle it in. This helps creates the emulsion. Remember to season.

If you want the emulsion without the whisk work add a small dollop of mustard which binds the oil and vinegar and adds a nice flavor. Sometimes I add a dollop of mayo too/instead. Flavors and ingredients all vary depending on what you want to serve it with. What are you looking for?
 
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pete

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Most vinaigrettes are going to be thin and they are going to separate almost immediately unless you add an emulsifier.  You can you mustard, as KK suggest, xantham gum although that is out of the realm of most home cooks, egg yolks are another traditional emulsifying agent.  I've also used pureed onions and pureed garlic to hold together a dressing.

As phatch said, the 3:1 ratio is just a starting point.  Fresh lemon juice (you did use fresh right and not bottled stuff or, god forbid the stuff in the plastic lemons-that stuff will never taste good in a vinaigrette) will require more oil, while a nice aged balsamic might need only a 2:1 or even 1:1 ratio.  It depends on your acid, your end product, and what it is being used on.
 

phatch

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In looking at your original post, did you ever add any salt? Salt and pepper are as important in vinaigrette as elsewhere. You have a fair amount of liquid to season and will only use smallish amounts. So it can take fair bit of seasoning to taste right combined with the salad or whatever. 
 
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Man was one too many cuba libres into the night when I posted this. Sorry for the rambling nature but thank you all for the thoughts.

For both vinaigrettes I did season with salt and pepper. The tangerine vinaigrette was a warm vinaigrette so I started it off by heating the oil and then added diced shallot and garlic. In retrospect that actually ended up over powering the tangerine flavor, but another issue was unlike the lemon juice which I did freshly squeeze.. I had to use tangerine juice from a bottle. I believe it would have benefited from a reduction perhaps. Any thoughts on that? This is new territory for me.

I may look into getting xantham gum because I do enjoy the somewhat limitless possibilities for creating sauces using this method and it's fairly quick too.
 

pete

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  I had to use tangerine juice from a bottle. I believe it would have benefited from a reduction perhaps. Any thoughts on that? This is new territory for me.
It usually takes a considerable amount of juice to get enough reduction to add any considerable body to a vinaigrette doing it this way, but I have done it in the past.  It does bring a real depth of flavor though.  To combat the "cook" fruit flavor I then finish the vinaigrette with some fresh juice and some grated zest which brings back a lot of that bright, fresh flavor again.
 
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I generally turn the ratio around.

I use 3 parts vinegar for 1 part olive oil. It's just how I like it.

I use it sparingly and yes, it is thin.

When there are other people around, I go back to the "official" ratio, but I just prefer mine, if it is just me.

Generally I will add some mustard  to it as well (sometimes a bit of yoghurt, for a change).
 
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Butzy.. I'm a fan of vinegar myself.. I prefer for instance a Carolina mustard vinegar for BBQ'd meats particularly things like pork butts. However, I was hoping to come up with something that had just a bit more body so that it could be controlled a little in plating.

Xantham gum was mentioned and it is pretty cheap on amazon. Does it impart any sort of negative flavors or chalky sensations like cornstarch can? Is it heat stable or can it "break" like some emulsifiers?
 
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Butzy.. I'm a fan of vinegar myself.. I prefer for instance a Carolina mustard vinegar for BBQ'd meats particularly things like pork butts. However, I was hoping to come up with something that had just a bit more body so that it could be controlled a little in plating.

Xantham gum was mentioned and it is pretty cheap on amazon. Does it impart any sort of negative flavors or chalky sensations like cornstarch can? Is it heat stable or can it "break" like some emulsifiers?
Xanthan gum is a great product but must be used properly. Too much and you get not just too thick, but slimy. It also needs to be convinced not to clump - blender is best but whisk will do. I only use in cold applications so can't say about heat stability, but it is part of the "flour" mixture for gluten-free baking so there may be some hope for heat stability.
 
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