The key to what makes that rationale so so very wrong is the phrase "decent tasting." Why was I trying to compare homemade dressing to the cheapest of the cheap? My homemade dressing may cost over $2 for 3/4 cup but it tastes so good that I literally had to stop myself from drinking it. Yes, I wanted to drink it. It would be more accurate to compare this dressing to that fancy schmancy stuff that they sell refrigerated in the produce aisle for $6-8 per bottle. There are no bulking agents, no super duper cheap oils, it's all REAL baby!
Plus, I really wanted to post this because making a vinaigrette is one of those basic skills that you need to learn on your journey to becoming a kitchen pro. Lesson numero uno: it's "vinaigrette" not "vinegar-ette." Okay, now we can move on.
Total Recipe cost: $2.10
Servings Per Recipe: 6 (2 Tbsp each)
Cost per serving: $0.35
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 0 min. Total: 10 min.
|1/2 cup||balsamic vinegar||$1.60|
|2 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.22|
|2 Tbsp||vegetable oil||$0.08|
|1 clove (1 tsp)||garlic, minced||$0.07|
|1/2 Tbsp||dijon mustard||$0.03|
|to taste||salt and pepper||$0.05|
STEP 1: Combine all ingredients in a bowl or large measuring cup and whisk until evenly mixed. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp salt and about 20 cranks of the pepper mill).
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Shake well before serving.
NOTES: Many vinaigrette recipes will have a vinegar/oil ratio of 1:1. I tweaked the ratio to 2:1 because I love balsamic vinegar, olive oil is fairly expensive and I didn't want a ton of oil on my salad. If vinegar is a little too strong for you, try the 1:1 ratio or you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the acid and tone down the vinegar.
I also used a 50/50 mix of vegetable oil to olive oil. Again, I did this because of the price issue. If you've got olive oil flowing from a spigot in your back yard or you don't mind the cost, use all olive oil. The flavor will be better.
If you're opposed to dijon mustard, please don't be frightened off. The end product doesn't taste a thing like dijon. The mustard just gives it some body, depth of flavor and helps emulsify the oil in the vinegar.
There are endless possibilities with vinaigrettes. Use different kinds of oil or flavored oils. Use flavored, aged or white balsamic vinegars. Use any herbs that your heart desires! Go crazy.
Go one step further...
If you have a jar of jam that's almost to the end, pour in the vinaigrette and shake it. You'll instantly have a fruit flavored vinaigrette! I had a little strawberry jam left and it blended amazingly with the balsamic, dijon and oregano Plus, the jam helped further emulsify the dressing so the oil really doesn't separate out at all anymore.
Plus, now I have an instant container to store it in! Yeah, I had already ate (drank?) about 1/3 of the dressing by this point so there's not much in that jar...
Someone needs to invent a balsamic flavored cocktail. For real.