by Margaret Thomas
A balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not some closely guarded secret made mysterious by a celebrity or gourmet chef. A good tasting vinaigrette is easy to make, and healthy for you. Oil and vinegar salad dressings or vinaigrette recipes can be made by those of us who have not attended the culinary institute.
A simple oil and vinegar salad dressing, why is the degree of difficulty exponential? It needn’t be. A simple vinaigrette dressing recipe can be made easily, from simple ingredients, be healthy for you, and actually taste great.
The key ingredients in a vinaigrette dressing, is a traditional aged balsamic vinegar, and an excellent olive oil. You don’t have to spend a fortune for the balsamic either. Two very good balsamic vinegar’s that are very reasonably priced, are Caroliva Reserve balsamic and Masserie di Sant’Eramo balsamic. (Those other vinegar’s that are under $8, …don’t bother).
Your balsamic vinaigrette dressing will go great with other dishes besides a salad, too. A balsamic vinaigrette is outstanding with fresh lobster and scallops, artichokes and asparagus. A balsamic dressing also goes well with fresh sliced tomatoes or steamed vegetables and greens.
A balsamic dressing recipe can be altered to your individual taste. The normal proportions for a balsamic vinaigrette dressing are one part balsamic vinegar to three parts olive oil, with seasoning of salt, pepper and Dijon mustard. A rule of thumb is one teaspoonful of mustard for every half cup of salad dressing. The flavor of balsamic vinegar is rich and intense, and with a delicate olive oil you may want to use proportions of one part vinegar to four or five of olive oil. Other herbs and spices will enhance a balsamic vinaigrette, such as chives and sage. Even a bit of finely grated fresh ginger root will add zest to your dressing. It is all a question of how you want your finished dressing to taste.