A seasoned chef, at the peak of his career, once told me, “anyone can cook a steak, but putting together an amazing salad is a skill.” Why? I would say it’s all in the dressing. A complex and abundantly flavorful dressing is challenging to achieve. The balance between salt, fat, and acid is imperative to create an amazing dressing.
Our fresh, bright, and flavorful blackcurrant vinaigrette strikes just that balance. It is softly sweet with punches of acidity from the lemon juice, blackcurrant vinegar, and balsamic vinegar.
Three Parts Olive Oil and One Part Vinegar
The ratio of olive oil to vinegar is of prime importance when mastering a vinaigrette. The classic French-style vinaigrette requires a ratio of three parts extra virgin olive oil to one part vinegar. I like a tiny bit more acidity in my vinaigrettes, so I will add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of a different kind of vinegar to brighten the bite. Apart from this modification, I stick to a classic French style.
Mince the Shallots
A salad or dressing composed of large slices of raw onion produces a sharp and bitter flavor. Alternatively, shallots possess a softer, more palatable taste, even when served raw. Hence, shallots are primarily used as a staple in a French-style vinaigrette. Mince the shallots to avoid an unpleasing bite.
The “ciseler technique” is the best method to mince shallots. Watch this video to learn this technique.
A Smooth vs. Crunchy Dressing
In many French restaurants, you will find a French-style vinaigrette strained of its solids, including the shallots. Comparatively, in many households, the home chef skips the strain. Shallots add a bit of crunch to every bite. Additionally, we advocate for less waste at Savory Suitcase, so our recipe excludes the straining process. However, if you don’t crave the shallots’ crunch in your salad, you may choose to strain the vinaigrette before serving.
If you have leftover dressing from our recipe, you may store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature before serving it. Toss up another salad or drizzle it over a filet of fish.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp blackcurrant vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 shallot minced
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 tsp salt
Mince the Shallots
- Mince the shallots using the ciseler technique. View the instruction video above in the "Need-to-Know" section.
Whisk the Vinaigrette
- Pour olive oil, blackcurrant vinegar, and balsamic vinegar into a mixing bowl.
- Whisk in shallots, Dijon mustard, Herbes de Provence, salt, and ground pepper.
- Squeeze lemon into the mixing bowl and add honey. Whisk together the ingredients.
Allow the Dressing to Sit at Room Temperature
- Let it sit for about 1 hour at room temperature. The flavors will strengthen with time.
- Serve and enjoy.