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vinegarette

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
What can be used to emulsify or thicken vinegarette dressings, to keep the vinegar and oil from seperating? One suggestion is arrowroot. If so, what proportions?
Sal
post #2 of 13
A few zaps with the immersion blender should do the trick.
post #3 of 13
Vinaigrettes are only temporary emulsions. When you mix oil and vinegar, nothing actually happens to bind them chemically; that is, they don't change. They just get broken up into tiny drops, so it LOOKS as though they're mixed. But they're not. (BTW, I'm saying "vinegar" here, but I'm really talking about any acid that you might use, including lemon, lime, orange, or even tomato juice.) You can add other ingredients to help them hold together, but you only want to add something that tastes good, or something that doesn't have any taste at all: AIR. :lips:

When you use a blender, you're chopping the drops of each into teeny tiny drops, and mixing in a lot of air. The drops are so small that you may think the oil and vinegar are actually mixed together, but really all they are doing is hanging onto the air that you mixed in. If you use an immersion (stick) blender or regular canister blender, the drops have more air to hang onto, and the vinaigrette holds together better than if you mixed it by hand with a whisk. But they still can't hang on for very long, so the emulsion breaks, and the tiny oil drops gather together to make big oil drops, and the vinegar drops do the same with other vinegar drops. Still, that's a good way to make a vinaigrette that holds together longer than if you mixed it by hand.

If you really feel you need to add something to hold the emulsion together, please please PLEASE don't add arrowroot, or any of those commercial binders. :eek: That may give you something similar to the stuff in the bottle, but ugh. Use a good prepared mustard, such as Dijon, which will give you both flavor and holding power, and make the vinaigrette with an electric mixer. Put the mustard into the bowl, add some of the vinegar (or whatever acid you're using), and whip it until it's really light-colored and fluffy. Then start to add the oil very slowly, just as if you were making mayonnaise. Once you've got a good amount of oil mixed in, you can alternate adding oil and vinegar. The point is to break up the drops and whip in a LOT of air for those tiny drops to cling to. I used to make a couple of quarts of sherry vinaigrette this way (just Dijon mustard, olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper), and it would hold for a couple of days. :bounce:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 13
Hey oh

In school, we studied dressings and emmulsions. We were encouraged to invent our own flavours and such, and my partner and I decided on sundried tomatoe and basil. Simple, except we never managed to actually get an emulsion to last longer than seconds.... :(
Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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post #5 of 13
Good response Suzanne. Looks like you've done your homework. Mustards a good idea. You have to adjust for salt and flavor profile though. I've also used an egg yolk or two for a more classic emulsion. Sort of like a tableside Caesar Salad. I believe this is called a riche or reesh (not sure on spelling).
post #6 of 13
In addition to or in place of mustard you can also use egg yolk, the ultimate emulsifier. Egg yolk contains lecithin which binds to the water and the oil in the vinaigrette. If you're a germaphobe and are leery of using a raw egg yolk, remember that the USDA estimates that one in 20,000 eggs has salmonella. If these odds still aren't good enough, use a pasteurized egg.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #7 of 13
Yes, you CAN use egg yolk. In fact, I sometimes use a recipe from almost 30 years ago from the NY Times Magazine for a "Creamy Salad Dressing" that is a cross between a vinaigrette and a mayonnaise. It does not break, it can easily be scaled up, and it's delicious. This makes about 3/4 cup.

1 teaspoon egg yolk (mix a yolk and measure out 1 tsp)
2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon or Dusseldorf mustard
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon heavy cream

Whisk together the egg yolk, mustard, Tabasco, garlic, S&P, and vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking constantly, as if making mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice. Beat in the cream. Taste and correct with more S&P, mustard, and/or lemon juice, as necessary.

PS to beefcheeks: Thank you. It's nice to know that $20,000 for a culinary degree and several years of restaurant work are worth something. :p
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 13
You can also use vegetables as emulisfiers, though they might not hold up as long. Roasted garlic, roasted shallots, cooked beets, cooked carrots, just to name a few.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #9 of 13
Yes, indeed, Pete!

I've done that with roasted garlic and it worked great. The dressing stays emulsified longer than I thought it would and the stuff doubles as a dipping sauce/sandwich dressing for chicken, meats. Fantastic dressing. Now that you mentioned those other veggies, I'll try some of those too. Thanks. :lips:
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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post #10 of 13
Another ingredient working very well for holding vinaigrette is chicken liver,it will hold for a couple days(not recommended as it is a perfect medium for bacterial growth).Basic:brown 1 chicken liver, put in blender ,deglaze pan with 2 oz red wine vinegar,add to blender with 2oz olive oil,S&P,blend,put through a fine mesh sieve.Serve with the more bitter salades(chicory,endives,etc)& lardons if you wish.
post #11 of 13
I love the roasted garlic idea. I've often used it in soups and sauces. I think it would be great in a vinaigrette.
post #12 of 13

sweet love

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COD AND CHIPSCOD AND CHIPS
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COD AND CHIPSCOD AND CHIPS
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post #13 of 13
I once heard someone say they used mashed potatoes. Which, now that I think about it, makes a lot of sense in some applications. I have never tried this so please don't hold me responsible for what you may serve to your guest. But I must say, Lolla Rossa and Mizuna with loaded baked potato dressing does have a unique ring to it.......(I'm joking) I like to use vegetable purees as thickeners and binders. I once used pureed tuna to thicken a vinaigrette for a nicoise. Offset with grated ginger and daikon. People went nuts for it.
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