Vinaigrette in a Jar

Vinaigrette in a Jar

The only dressing recipe you’ll ever need: It’s easy, delicious, and totally customizable.
TIME 5 minutes
MAKES About 1½ cups (10 to 12 servings)
1 cup olive oil
⅓ cup any wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Put the oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small glass jar along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. (If you want to add any extra ingredients, now is the time; see the Variations.)

2 Screw on the top of the jar and shake until the dressing becomes thick and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding small sprinkles of salt and pepper if you like. If you want more vinegar, add it 1 teaspoon at a time until the balance tastes right to you.

3 Shake the jar again and serve right away or refrigerate for up to 3 days; shake well before every use.

  • 10 Possible Additions. Include any of these along with the oil and vinegar— alone or in combination:

1 1 minced garlic clove or small chopped onion or shallot
2 ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, basil, or dill leaves or 1 tablespoon rosemary, tarragon, or thyme leaves
3 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
5 1 pinch crushed red pepper or 1 minced fresh chile
6 ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
7 ½ cup crumbled blue or feta cheese
8 ¼ cup chopped dried tomatoes
9 ¼ cup pitted and chopped olives (green or black)
10 2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt

  • A vinaigrette is an emulsion, a blend of oil droplets suspended in liquid, in this case vinegar, with flavorings. Using a jar is the easiest way to make a creamy, smooth, emulsified dressing: Shaking the jar just before serving pulls everything together, at least temporarily. (If the oil starts to float to the top, you just shake again.) A blender is easy and more efficient: It creates an emulsion that lasts for days. Either method delivers a fresher, more flavorful, smoother, altogether better dressing than anything out of a bottle.
  • If the flavor seems too acidic, add more oil; too oily, add more vinegar (Sometimes a few drops of water is all you need.) Just taste and adjust as you go. In the end, the tartness of the acidic component is the dominant taste, while the fats provide body and background flavor. The possible combinations are virtually endless.

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