At its most simple, vinaigrette, the essential dressing for any salad, is no more than an emulsion of three parts oil to one of vinegar, with a dash of pepper and salt to taste and perhaps a few chopped herbs. From this base, and using a vast range of ingredients, the number of possible variations is almost infinite. 


1 tblsp vinegar.

3 tblsp olive oil.

Dash salt.

Twist of black pepper.

1 tsp chopped fresh herbs. 


The oil and the vinegar should be at room temperature. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a balloon whisk until a creamy emulsion forms. You can store in the refrigerator for up to a week, but it is best to make only as much as you need, making a little more as required.

Try adding a little crushed garlic, or mustard. Try using Port or Marsala or Sherry instead of vinegar. For a more Italian flavour, use balsamic vinegar with garlic or very finely chopped onion. For a Middle Eastern taste, try some ground cumin and a little honey. For an Oriental tang, try a dash of ginger with a little chilli. Use your imagination and never stop experimenting. 

Yield: About ¼ cup.


Note: Lemon Vinaigrette is made from 1 part lemon juice and 3 parts oil, plus a dash of salt.


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