Untraditional Vinaigrettes

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Nowadays the term vinaigrette is used very broadly to mean almost any kind of emulsified sauce enlivened with vinegar, whether water-in-oil or oil-in-water, cold or hot, destined for salads or vegetables or meats or fish. You can make an oil-in-water version simply by changing the proportions: reducing the oil content and diluting the vinegar with other watery ingredients to provide more of the continuous phase without excessive acidity. Creamy but thin oil-in-water vinaigrettes can spread and cling reasonably well, and have the advantage over a classic vinaigrette of being slower to discolor and wilt lettuce leaves. (Oil seeps through breaks in the waxy leaf cuticle and spreads into the leaf interior, where it displaces air and causes the leaf to darken and its structure to collapse.)