11/02/2011 03:12 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make A Basic Vinaigrette

It's easier to make a basic vinaigrette than you would think, and in this video, chef Robert Mullooly of The Culinary Institute of America shows you how. It's all about the right ratio of acid (such as vinegar) to oil (1 part acid to 3 parts oil) and the careful combination of ingredients. By slowly drizzling in a stream of olive oil and constantly stirring the liquid with a whisk, you'll end up with a nicely bodied dressing that stays emulsified. Note that while the chef uses both mustard and egg yolk to help emulsify, thicken and flavor his dressing, you can make a vinaigrette with just one of these thickeners, or neither.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Rob Mullooly from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a vinaigrette.

A vinaigrette is something you can buy in the store in a bottle, or something you can make on your own quite simply. We have a few basic ingredients for success here. I've got balsamic vinegar and good olive oil; I also have some mustard and some egg yolks. Basically we combine the vinegar, mustard and egg yolks together, and then we slowly drizzle in the oil until the two liquids become as one. Your standard ratio for a vinaigrette is one cup of vinegar or acid to three cups of oil.

To start your vinaigrette, combine your mustard and your egg yolks in a bowl. We'll then pour in the vinegar right on top of that, and we'll bring those three together as one. So you whisk your vinegar, mustard and egg yolks together, and then your next move is to slowly drizzle in your olive oil. The key here is to have a nice slow steady stream of olive oil. While you're whisking in a circular motion, you're actually emulsifying the oil into the vinegar. This ratio I gave you is standard, so you could be using any acid: a red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or a good white wine vinegar. The key is always this process right here, that you have constant movement in a circular motion, and you're slowly pouring a nice thin drizzle of oil into the vinegar so you can get it as one nice smooth creamy mass. Clearly I can see that these two liquids are becoming one, because of this whisking motion.

We're coming to the end of our oil. I'm still whisking, I've got a good workout happening here. When it's done, it looks smooth, it looks creamy. You can take your spoon and see that it's got some nice body on it, it really coats the back of a spoon nicely. You don't see the oil, you don't see the vinegar: it's really emulsified as one. So that is how you make a very simple vinaigrette.