Ingredients for Vinaigrettes

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

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The most important factors in making a successful vinaigrette are choosing the appropriate oil and acid, and the proportion of each. Since there are now so many different types of oils and acids available, these two relatively simple ingredients, when chosen with care, offer almost limitless opportunity for variation.

Oils range from the neutral oils such as canola, peanut, and rice bran, to the intensely flavored oils such as extra virgin olive oil and fragrant walnut oil. If you prefer a mild flavor, a neutral oil is the best choice; when defined character and rich flavor are the requisite, extra virgin olive oil or a nut oil might be the choice. Whichever oil is chosen, it must also balance the acid, as well as the basic ingredients of the dish in which it is going to be used. All oils must be handled with care, as they tend to turn rancid (musty, bitter flavored) quickly. Oils that have a higher level of monounsaturates (such as olive and peanut) are the most perishable. Unrefined oils should always be refrigerated to ensure freshness.