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Vinaigrettes go great drizzled over cooked veggies, chicken or fish.
DIANE WEISS/DETROIT FREE PRESS
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BY SUSAN M. SELASKY
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Knowing how to make a variety of vinaigrettes is a kitchen skill every cook should have.
Because it is simple and saves money.
And vinaigrettes are not just for salad greens. You can drizzle them on fresh cooked vegetables or grilled chicken or fish.
A vinaigrette consists of three parts oil to one part vinegar (or other acid) along with salt and pepper.
Once you have that down, you can experiment with different vinegars, oils and seasonings.
Theresa Gemus, 56, of Riverview, Mich., has never been a fan of bottled vinaigrettes.
"They were either too bitter or just didn't make the salad taste good and left a bad taste in my mouth," she said.
So she makes her own vinaigrette--directly on the salad. She seasons first, adds vinegar and then adds the oil.
Gemus said making her own vinaigrette allows her to control the flavors.
"I can ad lib on the seasoning flavors kind of on the fly," she said. "And depending what I am making for dinner, I can change those vinegars."
Mary Spencer, a culinary instructor, also prefers to make her own vinaigrette because she can control the quality of the ingredients.
"It's using good quality vinegars, some quality olive oils," said Spencer, who offers cooking classes at Taste: A Cook's Place, located in Epiphany Kitchens in Northville, Mich.
To bring the dressing together, use an emulsifier such as Dijon, which "gives it a little tang," she said.
Another tip: Spencer recommends making the vinaigrette in the bottom of the salad bowl and then adding salad greens and other ingredients and tossing them with the vinaigrette.
"You want enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves," Spencer said.
"I think when you use something that is ready- made you squirt it on and sometimes you overdo it," she added.
"Making your own just tastes so much better."
MIX AND MATCH FOR A GREAT SALAD DRESSING
Vinaigrettes are generally three parts oil to one part vinegar. So, to make about 1 cup vinaigrette you will need cup oil and cup vinegar or other acidic liquid.
Exact amounts vary from recipe to recipe; the key is to adjust ingredients to taste.
Here are some tips and a list of essential ingredients:
;">Tips: Have all the ingredients at room temperature so vinaigrette emulsifies more easily.
While whisking, drizzle the olive oil in slowly and in a steady stream. The mixture should slowly come together, emulsify and look creamy.
Make vinaigrettes up to three days in advance and refrigerate. When you make the salad, place the greens in a bowl and add the vinaigrette a few tablespoons at a time so it just coats the greens.
Oil: Good-quality fruity or mild olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed, nut oils such as walnut.
Vinegars or acids: Balsamic (white or dark), champagne, apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon or lime juice, and fruit varieties.
Seasonings: Salt and pepper, Dijon mustard, fresh or dried herbs, minced garlic, minced ginger, honey, lemon or lime zest, chopped nuts, soy sauce, shallots, sugar.
50 SHADES OF GREENS SALAD
Start to finish: 15 minutes