Introduction to Vinaigrettes

Learn the principles of making basic vinaigrettes. Spike will teach you the ratios and show you 3 different methods of preparing a vinaigrette so you’ll have the technique to come up with your own creations!

Learn the principles of making basic vinaigrettes. Spike Mendelsohn will teach you the ratios and show you 3 different methods of preparing a vinaigrette so you’ll have the technique to come up with your own creations!

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] Hi, welcome to Top Chef University. I'm Spike from Top Chef Chicago. Our second course is all about the foundations of cooking. And in this lesson, we're making vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are the best way to bring salad to life. We're gonna teach you how to make a simple vinaigrette, how to create an emulsion and what you can do to build on these simple techniques. No more bald dressings for you my friend. vinaigrette is simple to make once you get the proportions right. A classic vinaigrette has three to one ratio of oil to vinegar. Once you know this, you are on your way to becoming an expert. So let's start by making a classic french vinaigrette. So, you're going to need a couple things here. First and foremost, we have this famous little trick here that we're going to twirl around a little nest of towel here, just to make everything really sturdy. So if you can see that Look at that. Just like that. We're gonna set our bowl, our salad bowl in there. And you can see, after going to whisk, it's not gonna move around. It's nice and sturdy. A whisk, of course. And then all the ingredients. You always wanna start off with your acid, because that's what a vinaigrette is all about. It's about that extra little punch, that wow factor. You know, you can use it to dress salads, or meat, or whatever. So, But you rally want it to have a nice little punch. So we're gonna measure a quarter cup of red wine vinegar. [SOUND] Beautiful. And then we're gonna add some aromatics in here. So let's add a crushed garlic clove. So we're gonna let that [INAUDIBLE] in there, squish that up really nicely in there. And just whisk it around just a little bit just to get that flavor just going and working. We're gonna add a little bit of sugar just to balance out all the acid that we have in it. So we'll start of with, oh we'll add the whole thing. Why not? There you go. Just whisk that out. You want to dissolve the sugar just by whisking it. I can always smell that garlic infusing into that vinegar. That's what we want. And then, one of the most important things is this mustard. It's gonna add a lot of flavor. But, more importantly, it's gonna emulsify this whole thing. Because that's what we're really making. It's an emulsification. So boom. A little bit of Dijon mustard And we'll make sure we mix that all around too. And then we're pretty much ready to make our oil. As you can see here, see, it's already kinda emulsifying and bringing it together, it's making it a little bit thicker. You always wanna taste in between stages too, so we're gonna take this spoon. The pretty much. That is kind of where we want it. We going to add a little salt to get those flavors. I can taste that garlic. That what I love about it. A little black pepper. Why not. Again we can season afterwards. So as I showed you before we did a quarter cup vinegar. So it is time to do 3/4 of a cup oil. And I think we're right about there. Does that look like it's three-fourths of a cup? Yes. So you slowly want to emulsify the oil into the vinegar cause you don't want to end up with a broken vinaigrette, that's not what we're trying to do. So very slowly pour this in. And as you can see, it's going to come together. You want to whisk vigorously. There we go. Mm, I can smell the aroma. The garlic, the vinegar. And again, these are just the basic tools to making a basic vinaigrette. It's a standard three to one ratio, but if you like a little more acid in your In your vinaigrette you can add, you can go two to one if you really wanted to. But this is a basic one, we're gonna get the rest of that oil in there. [BLANK_AUDIO] And again, this is how grandma made her vinaigrette. Very raw materials here. Whisk, a bowl Should probably use the fork actually. Put that garlic that escaped, and look, you have that beautiful ossification. Let me show you with a spoon. This called a [UNKNOWN]. See how it coats the back of a spoon. Then we wanna taste it to see where we're at. It's really, really good, but it's just a little flat. We got a little trick, we're gonna get some really bright Acid flavor, and we're just gonna take a little bit of lemon. What I love doing with the lemon is just cutting off the edges, just like that. Cuz there's no seeds, and it allows you just to squeeze a perfect little drop of lemon in there. [SOUND] Boom. I think this is where we want it to be. Let's taste it [SOUND] Yes, that did it. That brought it all together. It's popping, those flavors are in my mouth, this is delicious. Okay, well this is our basic french vinaigrette. Let's move on to something a little bit more challenging, [SOUND] and we're gonna make a warm vinaigrette. It's pretty much using the same basic ratios. Maybe a little less. And have some fun with it. So here we go. What we're gonna do is, we're gonna heat up a pan, nice saute pan, to very low heat We're gonna take this red onion, and we're gonna dice it. We don't need the whole onion, so we'll just discard half of it. Peel this away. Bore vinaigrettes are great if you wanna poach an egg. And have some lardons in a salad, you know, you can make a really mustardy, warm vinaigrette and toss it all together. They're just really delicious. You know, as you searing a piece of duck, maybe, and your slicing it, a warm vinaigrette, just to top it off to extenuate the flavor is really great. Again, we're gonna do dicing, so we're gonna go across here. Very evenly. And then we're gonna make two cuts into the onion. One on the bottom, and watch out your hands, you just wanna use the palm of your hand. And one on top. And then solely come across. Just like that, and you have these beautiful little dices. Nice. This take times so don't be in a rush. I think that's enough. So we're gonna take this onion, put it in the pan. It's a dry pan because what I'm gonna do is we're gonna add this balsamic vinegar that we have, that's really a reduced and very strong vinegar. So I think we're gonna switch the ratio up a little bit To more like two to one. Here we go. Let's season these onions a little bit, you always want to season. Turn up the heat. And now we're gonna measure out let's say maybe we'll go again with a quarter cup. [BLANK_AUDIO] That's right, there we go. Look how beautiful, that's gonna really turn this into a bright red color, and get those onions going. We also wanna add a little bit of garlic. [BLANK_AUDIO] Gonna crush that sucker up. I love doing that. A little bit of mustard. So pretty much using the same ingredients as the French one, just added onions. And again, we like to call this a broken vinagrette. It's really not going to be a [UNKNOWN] because we're adding a lot of heat to it. So there we go. Move that around a little bit, make sure you get it all. And you know what, again this is just a canvas. Vinaigrette's three to one ratio is just a starter. You know, you're supposed to really own your own vinaigrette, be a little bit innovative. So you know what we're going to do, we've got all these beautiful herbs over here They're going to add a little earthiness with some thyme. And you can see it's already started to boil. It's already started to develop these really complex flavors. It's starting to caramelize on the edges. I just added the herbs. I can really really smell those so that's delicious. And soon were going to add the oil and you know what I really like to start with the basis of you know a quarter cup of vinegar and then i'm really just going to eye the oil out you want it enough just to kind of incorporate everything but I dont think you really need to measure out the oil in this one One more thing we wanna do is deglaze with a little bit of honey. You can see we added sugar in our first vinaigrette. We're gonna step it up here and add a little bit of honey. Get that really caramelizing. You can add maybe, you know, a couple teaspoons of honey. Just eye it out. There we go. You could see it doing its job. It's really, really, caramelizing, really reducing. Let's taste it to see how our seasoning is. [SOUND] Oh, wow, that is delicious. That's really, really, good. Let's add a little bit of oil Again just enough to incorporate it all together. [SOUND] We turn the heat down now. A little bit more oil. I think we are about done. A little pinch of salt. Of course, we're gonna have to taste it one more time. [BLANK_AUDIO] That is great. What do you say we have some greens with that? Why not? Here you go. Got some fresh mesclun greens here. Just gonna pop them up. [SOUND] And look at those great onions we just saute that with enough butter. And there you go, that is a broken warm vinaigrette. Beautiful. All right, so I've shown you how to make a broken vinagrette with a two-to-one ratio. We showed you how to make a really classic French Vinagrette with a three to one ratio. Now let's show you how we used to really make vinagrettes back in the day when we didn't have whisks, we didn't have bowls we didn't have anything. So, All you need for this is a Mason jar. This is my favorite way to make a vinaigrette. We're gonna use the same basic ratio that we used earlier, which is 3 to 1. We're gonna add a little bit of red wine vinegar. So a quarter cup of red wine vinegar in the jar. Look at that. This is gonna be so much fun. Then we're gonna do what we did a little earlier. And just squish this garlic. Then we're gonna add a little bit of mustard to emulsify. A little bit of sugar, [SOUND] Some shalots [SOUND] and you know what like we did earlier we have a little pop coming here. This is a little trick, we're just gonna take the rand off of the lemon And then when we're shaking it all up, it should do the same kind of job that it did early, when we just squeezed some lemon juice in there, so we'll do that. And now, we used a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, we're gonna do three-fourths of a cup of oil, all right. [SOUND] Just gonna pour that in like that. [BLANK_AUDIO] You know we have these beautiful herbs out here, we're going to use some of these. Why not, I like some chive, why not. Little bundles of chives, we'll cut them really small, just like that. [BLANK_AUDIO] There we go. Maybe about a tablespoon of chives after it's all said and done. [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] Put that in the jar or Or miss the whole entire jar and put it on the cutting board. We'll add a little bit of salt, a pinch of salt, a little bit of pepper. Put the cap back on. We'll let it just sit there for one second while we clean up our cutting board. You always wanna work really neatly [BLANK_AUDIO] There you go. And now it's fun time. Just got it in there, make sure the lid's on tight. [SOUND] And we are emulsifying. You get a really great workout too, you know? You wanna skip the gym? Go ahead, skip the gym, just make sure it's all, look at that. How much fun is that? You can really seriously just package this and sell it now. Spike's mason jar vinaigrette. Right there. So yes, this is a vinaigrette in a Mason Jar. A lot of fun to do. But if you're a prima donna, you think you're too cool for the mason jar, you could always use your trust blender here. So pretty much just take the cap off. And do exactly what we did with the mason jar. Just put all your ingredients in here, season it, and just pulse it a couple times and you'll have your vinaigrette. So, again, I mean, we've shown you the basic techniques for vinaigrettes, you know, from the classic French one to the broken warm vinaigrette to the one in the mason jar. It's really all up to you to be really, really creative and just have fun with it. Remember, it's just It's all about having fun. You got the ratios. Switching ingredients in or out, and just make a really tasty [UNKNOWN]. So in our next lesson, we're gonna show you how to make mayonnaise. [MUSIC]
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Introduction to Vinaigrettes