We discussed some of these principles today on Good Things Utah, but here are the secrets in detail.
One of the joys of knowing a few scientific principles surrounding cooking is the confidence to whip up a sweet concoction of flavors with minimal effort. For example, the vinaigrette. Most people tend to shy away from making their own as the thought of mixing oil and water seems impossible. However, with a little magic in the form of tensioactive molecules, you can combine the two.
Assume for this example that oil speaks French and water speaks Mandarin Chinese. A tensioactive molecule is the French/Mandarin translator helping the two bodies to stay together. Keep in mind that some ingredients are better at carrying on a conversation than others, but at a minimum, you’ll be able to combine the two liquids for the purposes of making a dressing.
-Start with a food containing a tensioactive molecule to bind the water and oil together. Foods with tensioactive molecules that go well in salad dressings include: honey, shallots, garlic, and mustard (gelatin, flour, and potatoes do to, but they’re a little harder, but not impossible, to include in a vinaigrette).
-Use a ratio of at least 1 part water/vinegar to 1 part oil, but no more than 1 part water/vinegar to 2.5 parts oil. (Some books say you can go as high as 1 part water to 3 parts oil, but vinaigrette geometry means your dressing will be more likely to break).
-Drizzle, don’t pour, your oil into your water while mixing. The slower the better as it will create smaller bubbles of oil suspended in the water solution.
Using these secrets, you can make a vinaigrette out of virtually any flavor in your kitchen. Like lemon? Combine a little mustard with lemon juice, salt and oil. Prefer peaches? Why not mix some peach puree with champagne vinegar, sugar, roasted garlic, and oil. Revel in raspberries? Raspberry puree, raspberry vinegar, honey, and oil. Just remember the secrets to a vinaigrette and it’s easy!