Keeping it Simple – Balsamic Vinaigrette

As food consumers, we are ever trying to watch what we put on our food, in our food or what we cook with. Unfortunately this gets even more important as the weather starts to turn warm and we squeeze into our swim suits or summer outfits.

Ever read the ingredient listings on something simple like salad dressings? What the heck is xanthan gum, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium edta or tartrazine B066D??  Yes even the calorie wise and blue menu dressings contain these items.

Many chemicals are placed in dressings to ensure that your dressing lasts a long long long time on the shelf, properly stabilized or looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye (colour).

At Fresco we make as many products from scratch as possible. It is important that we control what goes into the food because we care what our guests are consuming. Even the dressings and vinaigrettes!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

½ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup white sugar

3 cloves of garlic

2 cups vegetable oil

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup balsamic vinegar

Fresh Thyme to taste

Sea Salt to taste

Method: Add mustard and sugar together in the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add garlic and continue to puree until smooth.

Place blender on medium speed and slowly add ½ of the oil (1 ounce at a time). It should not split but incorporate into the mustard mixture. Add ½ the vinegar, same as oil. Alternate oil and vinegar slowly until it is all used. Mixture should be smooth and not split. This should take no longer than a few minutes. Add chopped thyme and season with salt, blend 10 seconds. Taste

If the dressing is too thick for your liking you can add a few ounces of room temperature water to thin down. If you wish it to be stronger in vinegar taste, add a few more ounces of vinegar and blend.

*when making a fruit vinaigrette, puree the fruit after the mustard/sugar mixture is creamed. Add your oil and flavoured vinegar as per recipe. I also add juice (apple, orange, cranberry etc) instead of water to add flavour.

Making vinaigrettes are easy, fun and your guests will be impressed that you took the time and care when preparing the meal.


Chef Paul, Fresco Café