Most recipes for oil and vinegar dressing call for 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. These proportions make a very acid sauce, too strong for most salads. For a delicate butter lettuce, for example, the proportion should be 5 to 1.
The types of vinegar and oils used depend also on the nature of the salad ingredients. The endive family and bitter field greens taste best with strong vinegars and heavy oils like Italian green extra virgin oil.
Always add the salt and freshly ground pepper to the acid, stir to dissolve the salt, then whisk in the oil. It is very important to make an emulsion so you don’t get the disparate textures and tastes of the two liquids in the salad. Only with asparagus on a plate do the separate rivers of oil and vinegar look and taste wonderful.
Put the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the olive oil and continue to whisk until a smooth emulsion is formed.
© 1986 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.