In the Pantry: How to Make Vinaigrette

Grocery lists can seem endless (and pricy), since the list doesn't stop at bread, milk, and cheese. Because you can make it at home, vinaigrette is one less thing you'll need to buy at the store. For a perfect summer salad, you can easily mix up a vinaigrette with ingredients you probably have on hand. Here's how to make homemade vinaigrette.

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Vinaigrette chemistry:
Vinaigrette is simply vinegar and oil, which acts like oil and water. The ingredients just won't stay together, even if you shake, whisk, and stir. To keep vinegar and oil from separating, use what is known as a binder. Binders include mustard, roasted garlic, or anchovies. These ingredients will marry the vinegar and oil together for a delicious vinaigrette to drizzle over an arugula salad.

Vinaigrette seasonings:
From your pantry, you can use different seasonings, like a high-quality salt or fresh-ground pepper, to flavor the vinaigrette. You can also add honey or maple syrup for body and viscosity. Brown sugar will add a molasses-like flavor, and white sugar will simply sweeten the vinaigrette.

How to make a classic Dijon vinaigrette:
Put one part vinegar in the bottom of a jar. Then, add two to four parts oil, depending on your taste. Because the vinegar and oil will naturally separate, add in the binder now. In this case, a large spoonful of Dijon mustard will do the trick. Add seasoning, like fresh-ground pepper and a dash of salt. Place on the jar lid and shake.

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Try the vinaigrette before serving and continue to season to taste. Then, drizzle the homemade Dijon vinaigrette over your salad.

For more cooking tips and tricks, check out host Aida Mollenkamp's book, "Keys to the Kitchen."

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