Our "Studio" Vinaigrette

In its’ purest form, a vinaigrette has two ingredients: oil, and vinegar.  As a kid growing up, that is what was literally on the table: white vinegar (which doubled as glass cleaner) and the bottle of Crisco oil.  And seasoned properly with fresh greens, or just new potatoes, this was passable.  But as time went on, our palettes, and our society, became introduced to new brighter, more flavourful, and less harsh oils and vinegars.

Our garden is abound with that soft, super green, leafy lettuce that grows oh-so-well in our hot climate for a short two months.  It seems that a dinner doesn’t go by without a big pile of greens.  But  I am not complaining!  It’s salad season, and therefore time to enjoy greens, spinach, veggies, etc etc, as much as possible.  But all too often these precious leaves become ruined with a soppy, over-seasoned or (gasp!) processed bottle of dressing.  This is so easily remedied by making a proper vinaigrette.

In its’ purest form, a vinaigrette has two ingredients: oil, and vinegar.  As a kid growing up, that is what was literally on the table: white vinegar (which doubled as glass cleaner) and the bottle of Crisco oil.  And seasoned properly with fresh greens, or just new potatoes, this was passable.  But as time went on, our palettes, and our society, became introduced to new brighter, more flavourful, and less harsh oils and vinegars.  The balsamic craze of the 90’s led way to champagne vinegars, flavoured vinegars, wine vinegars and beyond.  Crisco was replaced with Olive Oil, and then the introduction of specialty oils (avocado, pumpkin seed, cold-pressed canola oil) were touted for their ‘healthfulness’ (even though, teaspoon for teaspoon, its all the same amount of fat).

No matter which oil or vinegar you choose (and sometimes it does pay to pay more), the most important thing to remember is BALANCE.  You want to balance the acidity, the oil, the sweetness if necessary, and the seasoning.  And taste your vinaigrette.  Not with a spoonful, but just dip a piece of your lettuce in the vinaigrette before serving.

Below is our tried and true, goes with anything, vinaigrette.  We use a decent olive oil and white wine vinegar (such as Ponti Pinot Grigio White Wine Vinegar).  Further, the more tender your greens are, the less vinaigrette you want to put on them, or they will simply wilt.

Our "Studio" Vinaigrette: Whisk together 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar with 1/4 tsp kosher salt until dissolved.  Whisk in 1 tsp of honey.  Whisk in about 6 tablespoons of olive oil.  Done.