Salad Dressing (oil/vinegar)

Cookie8

I have my dressing that I make and really like - creamy. That said, I don't have much experience with oil and vinegar based dressings. I'm playing around with a citrus oil and vinegar but find it too biting and thin. What helps to thicken without it becoming too oily? Plus I'm not finding the flavours too exciting - here's what I did - oil (evoo), mustard, honey, lemon, orange, apple cider vin, onion powder, garlic and a touch of time. It's just lacking in flavour and body. Plus I find it a bit biting on the acids.

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amylou321

Well, I wouldn't use both citrus juice and vinegar. One or the other. And it may need a bit more oil. That will help cut the bite.

As for flavor,fresh(not powdered) garlic and/or shallot,and I love fresh herbs in mine. My favorite is fresh oregano,but the dried does okay too. Try that or fresh basil or whatever your favorite is.

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Cookie8

"Well, I wouldn't use both citrus juice and vinegar."

Yeah, I did try with no vinegar the first time and there was definitely something missing. I also failed to add the mustard and extra seasonings. Just garlic. I will try again with no vinegar but more spices/herbs. I also found the first trial to be just sour. It might be time to look up a recipe.

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Cookie8

Also, does a lighter oil add to the flavour? I found the extra virgin olive oil flavour comes out too strongly with the citrus. I tend to be pretty critical of some of the things I make so not sure if I am expecting too much.

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amylou321

Try citrus zest instead of the juice with the vinegar. It has the flavor without so much acid as the juice.

The lighter the oil,the lighter the flavor. If you prefer the taste of the other flavorings over the olive oil,then use a light olive oil or a something like avocado oil or a flavorless oil like grapeseed or canola.

Don't forget salt. A lot of the time that's what is "missing." Especially in a dressing.

Everything should be to your taste. There is no right or wrong. It may just take trial and error until you find your perfect combo.

For me, I don't like mustard in a vinaigrette,even though I like mustard. THAT might have been what put the sour bite into it,but it's hard to say. Everyone's pallete is different.

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Cookie8

Good idea. Thanks.

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Cookie8

I made another batch. The zest made a huge difference. Thanks! I also used white vinegar instead of apple cider.

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chloebud

I agree palates can differ with vinaigrettes. The choice of acid/vinegar varies. For the most part, I use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar. The ratio of vinegar to oil depends on personal taste. I tend to use about 1 part oil to 3 parts vinegar. It's a good idea to let the salt dissolve in the vinegar before adding the oil. I do add a bit of finely chopped garlic and Dijon mustard to my "basic" vinaigrette.





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plllog

It's true that the proportions differ by taste, but I'd call Chloebud's a vinegar dressing rather than a vinaigrette, if I were being very technical. A vinaigrette by definition is a small portion of vinegar, usually about a quarter or less. The oil is what sticks to the vegetables.

I like red wine vinegar more than plain vinegars. It has a well rounded flavor. Some other fancy vinegars taste great on their own but are unnoticeable in a salad.

For flavor, remember that it takes time for the ingredients to marry. If you can make it in the morning, for instance, the flavor will be better. If there's nothing perishable, don't refrigerate it! I know that sounds obvious, but people just stick it in the fridge out of habit.

Another way to thicken dressing without adding fat is to add some pasteurized egg white (and store in fridge, of course). The protein will stick well to the vegetables.

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chloebud

plllog, I guess we can respectfully differ on what is considered a vinaigrette. I totally agree regarding marrying flavors. Making well ahead is a must.

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lindac92

Standard vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar....salt, pepper and a touch of sugar.
My favorite vinaigrette is 1 T dijon mustard, ( mustard acts as an emulsifying agent) 1 T honey, 1 medium clove of garlic, crushed, some fresh herbs....os dried if it's witner, about 1 tsp of dried, more if fresh...1/4 cup rice vinegar ( I find it less acedic than cider vinegar) and whisk that well adn slowly drizzle in, while whisking, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil....I like an extra fruity one.
I never ever use white vinegar, but for white wine vinegar, for anything but cleaning soap scum off the shower!

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plllog

Chloebud, I was just talking about the standard which Linda quoted. What I like to eat is a vinegar dressing far more like yours. :) I tend to mad scientist it. Just keep adding red wine vinegar to EVOO until it's tangy and assertive, add S&P, spice and herbs, wherever the whim takes me. I know RWV is a has been, but it's so good!

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Islay Corbel

I think you have to be wary about using too many ingredients. What do you want to eat.? Salad or dressing?

Vinegars are what makes a dressing. If you want a richer, creamy dressing, then start with a table spoon of dijon mustard in a bowl. Take a whisk and add 1 tbls vinegar, salt and pepper. You always add the salt at the beginning as it won't dissolve in oil.

Choose your vinegar with care. Sherry vinegar is great at this time of year. In the summer you just might want lemon juice. White wine and red wine vinegars are both delicious but also think of different ones : honey cider vinegars, nut vinegars..... We get great one here made with buckwheat honey. It's very mild but full of flavour.

Then choose your oil. Start to whisk in the oil little by little and you'll get a thick emulsion that sticks really well. Onion, shallots and garlic are incredibly powerful elements in a vinaigrette. Be wary of using those as you won't appreciate your salad if you're a little heavy handed.


A vinaigrette has no sugar...that's an American thing! It's also as Plllog says, 1 part vinegar to 4 parts oil.

Pllog, why is rwv a has been?!!!

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plllog

The sugar is probably a Midwest thing. I missed that. The only salad dressing I've ever put sugar in is a Japanese rice wine vinegar and sesame oil one.

That was a lovely instruction on making dressing.

RWV was a really big thing in the 1980's or something, and anything that popular ends up burning out. People here often turn up their noses at it. Pomegranate vinegar is very popular. Champagne vinegar is still holding on, but starting to wear out its welcome. I think RWV is better than either of those for a standard salad with lovely crisp and flavorful vegetables. When I make a dressing with lots of RWV--lots more than I'd ever call a vinaigrette, the guests love it and exclaim over it. I think it's been so long since they've had it, they don't even remember what it tastes like. :)

My dressing philosophy is different, however. I don't make a lot of twee salads that have remarkably different flavors. Usually if I do, it's because I have a limited selection of produce and get creative. Mostly, I make a version of what some call a market salad. Just all the veg together, with a thought to proportion, and what doesn't play well with the rest, but otherwise, just everything from peppers to leftover green beans, and occasional canned treats like hearts of palm or water chestnuts. I don't like mayonnaise based or cream dressings for this kind of salad, but I do like an assertive flavor that will differentiate one day's salad from the next. RWV is not for every day, as I do like to mix things up, but no matter what the base is, I do use a lot of herbs and often some garlic, to help the dressing change up the salad. I love salads. My favorite "fast food" breakfast is a pre-made salad from Trader Joe's. But I do have to change things up, and the dressing is easy to mess around with. :) Fenugreek anybody?

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amylou321

I love RWV.

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Cookie8

Last night I ended up googling citrus salad ideas and came across this recipe. I had to make it because, coincidentally, I posted anise as my favourite cookie flavour and this salad came up. I made the dressing and it is so very good. Thought I'd share:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/citrus-salad-with-fennel-vinaigrette

BTW, I didn't make anything else in the directions (sesame and salad) just the dressing. With all the tips above, I will start to experiment more even though no one in the family uses salad dressing. Weirdos.

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chloebud

I also love RWV and probably use it more than the others in my pantry. Some years ago I started buying the "O" brand vinegars whenever I'd see them at HomeGoods for about half the online price. I especially like their aged sherry, champagne, cabernet, aged balsamic and pomegranate vinegar.


https://www.ooliveoil.com/

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lindac92

I know sugar is an american thing....but I think a little sugar brings out the flavor. I add sugar to lots of things that often makes people raise their eyebrows when they know....but they love it if they don't know.
another of my favorite salad dressings, for a salad that is mostly greens is what I call "toss and dump"...works best with 2 people....a tosser and a dumper...
Toss the greens and drizzle over a little good oil...toss and add just enough oil so that every leaf is coated, then still tossing, add salt and freshground pepper, and lastly something acid.....vinegar of your choice, lemon juice, lime juice....even grapefruit juice. Top with fresh herbs and a bit of cheese....crumbled blue, parm, peccorino, asiago....feta....
Making myself hungry....wish we could trust our romaine!

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Gooster

rwv is so critical to getting the flavor right in so many dressings -- it's a classic. I think the other flavored vinegars have grown in popularity because of that sugar thing -- there is a propensity in the US for things to be sweet.

I find the small dollop of dijon really helps transform a vinaigrette from just oil and vinegar -- and helps hold the emulsion. Experiment with brands if you don't like the typical -- some are more mild than others.

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fawnridge (Ricky)

Simple Sicilian salad dressing:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon +/- Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon +/- Brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon +/- Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon +/- Red Pepper flakes

Mix well and let sit for at least 10 minutes before using.

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chloebud

"I find the small dollop of dijon really helps transform a vinaigrette from just oil and vinegar -- and helps hold the emulsion."


I agree, Gooster.

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jerzeegirl

This is the vinaigrette that I learned to make in France:

1 TB red vinegar

3 TB olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

S & P (to taste)

chopped shallot (maybe 1 tsp-2 tsps)

Keep whisking until it's thick.



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John Liu

I think the emulsification is key to the texture you want. I also like simple dressings, at least start with the simplest most basic version and get that working before loading more stuff. Actually I like that approach to most cooking.

https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-emulsify-vinaigrette


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HU-721786473

That dressing that pillog described with the rice vinegar and sugar is delicious, but I only use it for my sunomono salad. Just a thought cookie, maybe you just don’t care for an oil/vinegar type dressing, no matter you add to it. My DJ doesn’t, I prefer it most often. Although once In a while for a traditional iceberg lettuce type salad I really enjoy a well made thousand Island dressing. But for the most part I like an Olive Garden type.

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John Liu

Is it necessary to whisk? I usually dump everything in a mason jar with a screw lid and shake. "Shaken, not stirred." None would argue with Bond on martinis, but does the same apply to salad dressing? We can't consult 007 because there is no record of him ever consuming salad.

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Islay Corbel

Whatever works!

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2ManyDiversions

Most often use red wine vinegar as well, add a bit of Dijon depending on my mood or the salad greens, and I stopped using a whisk some time ago in favor of a mason jar, shaken, not stirred, John ; )


I'm in the more vinegar less oil club, whatever one calls that : )


Islay, you made me laugh out loud! "What do you want to eat.? Salad or dressing?" Ok, so I'm totally guilty! Garlic is a must, often some minced chives as well, poppy seeds if in the mood, and anything else minced which suits me that day from the herb garden. Oh, and include grated fresh ginger in those 'sometimes ingredients' as well. Guess I like salad with my salad! Ha ha!

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chloebud

My sweet husband loves salad...both making and eating it. The only problem is he makes what I call salad soup...way too much dressing! Just can't convince him not everyone likes it that way. :-/

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John Liu

I got curious about what Bond eats. it is worse than I thought! Not only is there no record of him ever eating salad 1/, there is precious little evidence that the agent ever ate green leafy vegetables 2/ or indeed vegetables of any sort 3/.

http://bondandbeyond.forumotion.com/t766-the-meals-of-007-a-comprehensive-guide

The man basically lived on meat, shellfish, eggs, and coffee. No wonder his career only lasted to age 45. After The Man With The Golden Gun, reports of 007's missions cease, and we can only assume that he retired or suffered an untimely and classified end.

1/ In Dr. No, he was served a salad in Dr. No's prison fortress, but presumably choked it down under duress.

2/ In You Only Live Twice he ate seaweed, but he was going native to hook up with Kissy Suzuki, and for all we know he just pushed the seaweed around with his chopsticks to make it look like he'd had some.

3/ For purposes of discussion, we must all agree that ketchup is not a vegetable.

I am referring to the original and authentic Commander James Bond from Ian Fleming's books and perhaps the Sean Connery movies. Later, watered-down Bonds may possibly have secretly eaten salad or even organic kombucha with almond milk for all one knows. Things just aren't the same <sigh>

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chloebud

Nice work, John! For me, Sean Connery was the best Bond. No one else came close. I'd watch him choke down salad or push seaweed around his plate any day...<sigh> :-)

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John Liu

As Exhibit A of Bond's descent, in the Roger Moore version of Live And Let Die, Bond actually pulls an espresso and steams milk for M. Sean Connery would never have played barista. https://youtu.be/Y0XeO66xXAs  

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plllog

The Japanese dressing is also good on Asian inspired chicken/turkey salad. The kind with the julienne lettuce, black sesame seeds and flash fried rice noodles. I actually find it too sweet for sunomono salads and if I can, I water it down. If I'm making it I let the cucumbers or daikon or whatever weep into it.

John, I can definitely argue with Bond's martini!! As a double entendre it's fine. It's funny. Tee hee, it's the 1960's and we pretend we're not talking about sex when there's little else holding the covers of the book together. But as directions for making a good martini, it's bassakward.

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louiseab Ibbotson

For my sunomono salad, although not likely traditional, I don’t use much sugar but add a little fresh squeezed OJ instead.

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ritaweeda

I make several different dressings and could give all the ingredients but the amounts are not written in stone, I pretty much wing it, taste, then adjust every time. For Asian dressing I use rice vinegar, regular vinaigrette and Greek I use apple cider, and I guess I'm the only one here, for Italian I use balsamic. I use jars to make and shake it in. I use only olive oil or canola, depending on the dressing. I have used just lemon juice instead of vinegar and it was pretty good. I do need to branch out and try some different types of vinegars and oils though, I did try RWV many years ago and didn't like it but tastes change over the years, maybe I'll try it again. We don't eat creamy dressings too much any more. And when we do I try to make it homemade. Awhile back I decided to try making thousand island dressing for Reubens sandwiches since I didn't have any store-bought and it came out awesome!

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Compumom

Last night I was attempting to use up a some of the Meyer lemons that I was gifted on NYear's Day. So I squeezed 1 1/2 together with quite a bit of EVOO and added some dried oregano. It was pretty tart so I added a little honey and some rice vinegar and gave it to DH. He was less than enthusiastic. He loves salad dressing-- my go to is some brown mustard seeds from Penzey's with a flavored vinegar (persian lime olive oil and pineapple vinegar), a little rice vinegar and some evoo to even it all out. Dried shallots are also added sometimes. The mustard seed emulsifies the dressing and he's a happy camper. Sometimes I use a good balsamic, other times red wine vinegar and a bit of maple syrup to cut the sharpness. However this time with all of the lemon juice it was a MISS! How can I salvage what I have left? I've used a good quality olive oil (Calif Olive Ranch is my go to). I have plenty of lemons and other flavored vinegars. The other issue it that its' fairly watery and doesn't really adhere to the lettuce.

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plllog

To save the lemon/oil I'd brush it on a chicken and roast it. Maybe scatter some chopped dried herbs on it, too.

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chloebud

Somewhat related to plllog's suggestion...use it as a marinade for chicken. You could add some chopped garlic, too.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

"This is the vinaigrette that I learned to make in France:

1 TB red vinegar

3 TB olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

S & P (to taste)

chopped shallot (maybe 1 tsp-2 tsps)

Keep whisking until it's thick."

^ THIS. Sometimes just keeping it simple is best. Though I use equal parts vinegar to oil. A bit of lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice. (Tbsp mustard) : )

Not a lover of oily dressings.

I probably make a hundred different salad dressing every year....variations on a basic theme. Never the same but never heavily dressed. The greens themselves are so good! Keep it simple.

When I lived in Italy, then Greece, way back '85-'86....and again '90 for 6 months Grad school it was heavily oiled salads and giant pinch of corse salt. This was before one would dare ask for 'dressing-on-the-side'. (I did try) "non sale" ...

I lived just off a side street from Campo di Fiori market in Rome. All through their gorgeous fresh market season. Amazing salad greens that did not need but a whisper of dressing.

A basic simple dressing can be 'elevated' to creamy easily. A quarter or less avocado, A half slice of good crusty boule, a shallot/quarter carrot/roasted garlic/./...even a rib/ leaf of a salad green like Boston or 'ahem'- romaine. My Peruvian green sauce dressing uses lettuce...the milky thick rib of the salad greens is the key to this salsa/dressing.

A good stick blender is a great friend for dressings. (often just a good shake in a ball jar is all that is needed)

Funny I bought a Breville stick blender a year ago with all the attachments and 'stuff', and I still grab my 'ye olde' trusty 5 dollar yard sale Braun stick being so simple and works so great just in a jar.

Oh, such a great explanation of thickens I found

Oops, HERE

To be continued, lol. or not , home from work 2am with a massive snow storm tomorrow...kinda loving the meal planing if power outages and heavy snow.

(my salad greens are so beautiful in my winter grow macro green shelf)

...and this was weeks ago... so much in my indoor garden...

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fillmoe

I usually add a tiny pinch if Xanthan gum to my salad dressings then shake. This prevents separation.

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