For the uninitiated, there is nothing more confounding than salad dressings. I hear pretty frequently, "How do you make vinaigrette?" "What vinegar do I use?" "What kind of things should I put in my salad?" "It's too complicated—I just buy Newman's Own." These questions come from lay people and food people alike. And my thought is always (besides the snarky "How don't you know this stuff?"), "You need a good all-purpose recipe." Which is where May's Tasting and Testing recipes come in.
The truth is, vinaigrettes are easy—impressive, yes, but really, really easy. Remember this simple mnemonic:
A: acid (vinegar, lemon juice)
A: aromatics (shallots, garlic, scallions)
B: binder (mustard, mayonnaise)
O: oil (olive, grapeseed, hazelnut, walnut)
First, the method (dead simple):