Oil and Vinegar

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes Approximately

    ¾ Cup

Appears in

Jeremiah Tower Cooks

By Jeremiah Tower

Published 2002

  • About

Most recipes for oil and vinegar dressing call for three parts oil to one part vinegar. These proportions make a very acidic sauce that may be fine for things like grilled leeks, but is too strong for most salads. A delicate butter lettuce, for example, demands a five to one ratio. The nature of the salad ingredients also dictates the choice of vinegars and oils as well as the proportions; for example, the endive family and bitter field greens taste best with strong vinegars and a heavy oil such as an Italian green extra virgin olive oil. You can substitute fresh lemon or lime juice for the vinegar.

Always add the salt and freshly ground pepper to the acid first, then stir to dissolve before whisking in the oil. Remember that unless otherwise specified it is very important to emulsify the two liquids to avoid having their disparate tastes and textures in the salad. Only with nonleafy foods like vegetables, fish, and meats do the separate rivers of oil and vinegar look and taste wonderful.


  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • good pinch kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


Put the vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk it into the vinegar until an emulsion is formed.