Vinaigrettes can be used as a sauce, especially for fish and poultry, on sandwiches, as a marinade, or even as a pasta sauce. Vinaigrettes are great poured over roasted vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, and beets, while still warm so the flavors are absorbed. This makes an excellent salad, and is, in fact, how German potato salad is made.
Vinaigrettes are an emulsion of oil and a liquid, typically an acid. One or both elements may be seasoned to contrast or complement with one another or the item the dressing is intended for. The acid is usually vinegar, but can also be things like fruit juices, wine, or water mixed with the above to soften the flavors. The hardest thing about making vinaigrette is the proper emulsification of the two elements so they stay bound together. Just remember to add your oil slowly and whisk hard. Using a blender or a small electric “wand” type mixer is a definite help. You can also use a jar as long as you are careful to find one with a tight fitting lid and are careful to hold on tightly. If you like to make larger amounts of dressing, SaladSuccess makes a handy shaker/squeeze bottle that is marked with the right ratios right on the bottle. If you wish to make a thicker or creamier dressing, but don’t want to add too many calories or cholesterol, you can make the dressing without all the oil, and then whisk in mayonnaise at the end to thicken the dressing. You can also use whipped cream or some yogurt to thicken and add creaminess. Using rice vinegar and a little sugar, and then adding peanut butter takes you in an Asian direction. Use more peanut butter for a sauce consistency that makes a good dip for vegetables. Less peanut butter and you have a great dressing for things like Chinese cabbage or quickly stir-fried bok choi.