Of course I make my own dressing
Once a week, and that’s it. I hate bottled vinaigrette even more than I hate fiddling with dressing, so here’s what I do: I make a big old batch, then store it in a jar in the fridge. Yes, yes, the oil and vinegar separate, but all you have to do is retrieve the jar, let it sit on the counter for ten minutes and give it a good shake. If you alternate hands, this counts as an upper body workout, at least in my mind it does.
Since I’m on the subject, here’s my recipe (all measurements approximate — you’ll have to taste as you go — but this should dress enough side salad for two or three people). It was the magnificent Nicoise Christiane Hodgkins who first showed me how to make this way back when. Sadly, she’s no longer with us and let me tell you the world is a far drearier place without her, but her cuisine lives on. Tres bien!
Balsamic Vinaigrette (a la niciose)
Whisk all ingredients until emulsified (combined and starting to thicken a bit).
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 T mayonnaise (my addition — it gives the dressing a little oomph and helps bind the O and V)
- 2 to 3 T extra virgin olive oil (depending on the strength of the vinegar)
- good grind of fresh pepper
- pinch of salt (optional)
- a drop or two of honey (only if the balsamic is not sweet enough)
Now, you can add minced garlic to this, and I often do, especially if the flavors of the other foods aren’t all that strong. Personally, I love garlic in everything, but I realize not everyone does.
Remember, the flavor, sweetness and intensity of olive oils and vinegars vary enormously. Whenever making vinaigrette, taste as you go and tweak as necessary.
If you want to squirrel this away in a jar, you’ll need to triple or even quadruple quantities and skip the garlic. It gets manky after a while.