When I have a really good salad dressing, I can’t get enough! It almost becomes an obsession…I seem to want it on every salad that I have for weeks on end. That was the reaction when I first started developing this amazing Honey White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Truth be told, it went through a few iterations until I found the perfect combination of ingredients. Even from the start, though, in the early stages, this salad dressing just seemed to work. There is something unique about White Balsamic Vinegar.
What is White Balsamic Vinegar?
I am sure you have heard of balsamic vinegar. That deep rich colored vinegar that tends to be more palatable on its own than, say, regular red or white wine vinegar. That is attributed to the process by which it is made. Basically, they combine the seeds, stems and skins of the grape, along with the freshly squeezed grape juice (this combination of ingredients is called grape must) and let if cook and cook and cook until it reduces and becomes syrupy. That is then stored in several different varieties of wooden barrels for many, many years.
Hey, no one said making balsamic was easy.
For regular balsamic vinegar, it will usually sit in those barrels for at least twelve years. Just like a wine that is aged, the barrels give the vinegar character, color and body.
Think of white balsamic vinegar a little bit like white wine. The overall process is substantially the same as its red or deep purplish black counterpart, but there are some differences.
To help preserve the color of white balsamic vinegar, which is a beautifully rustic golden color, the grape must is actually cooked under pressure. This helps to cook it faster and retain its vibrant color.
Then to store it, it will usually sit in barrels for just about a year. Thus, the overall character of white balsamic is vibrant and zippy with a hint of sweetness. Because of that, it adds an unexpected twist to the vinaigrette.
You can pretty much find white balsamic vinegar at most any grocery store these days. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, stop by and pick up a bottle. I have found that it is very reasonably priced there, in line with other kinds of vinegar.
Homemade Salad Dressings Should Be Easy to Make
While making balsamic vinegar is no walk in the park, making this Honey White Balsamic Vinaigrette is easy as pie. Actually, technically, it’s easier than making pie because you can shake up a batch in about 5 minutes. Just combine all the ingredients and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds to emulsify the dressing.
As I mentioned, this dressing when through several trials until I settled on this finished recipe. One of the last changes I made was to add the Dijon Mustard, which put a nice finishing touch on the dressing, balancing nicely with the sweetness of the honey. Plus, it allows you to emulsify the dressing.
What is an Emulsifier? What is Emulsification?
Let’s take basic oil and vinegar. They don’t mix. Think about that old school traditional Italian salad dressing of oil and red wine vinegar, mixed with Italian spices. You can shake that baby all you want…a few seconds they separate. They say opposites attract. Ha! Not in the case of oil and vinegar…unless you have an emulsifier.
Think of an emulsifier as Cupid. I know it’s silly. But it makes the point. Just as Cupid my bring two star-crossed lovers together, so does an emulsifier. Oil and vinegar are those star-crossed lovers—so perfect together. They just need some help bringing them together. That is Cupid, also known as the emulsifier.
In this case, the Dijon mustard is Cupid…err, I mean, the emulsifier. Mustard is a great emulsifier. Why? Well, let’s leave that to the experts. According to the Institute of Food Science and Technology in London:
Emulsifier molecules work by having a hydrophilic end (water-loving) and hydrophobic end (water-hating). The hydrophilic end of the emulsifier molecule is attracted to the water and the hydrophobic end is attracted to the fat/oil. By vigorously mixing the emulsifier with the water and fat/oil, a stable emulsion can be made. (Source: https://www.ifst.org/lovefoodlovescience/resources/fats-and-oils-emulsification)
Who knew salad dressing was a science, right? Well, it is…and a great tasting science at that! The Dijon mustard is the emulsifier that will keep this dressing blended so that, once emulsified, all you need is a light shake before pouring it on your salad. Love that!
I really cannot wait for you to try this Honey White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Heck, saying it is harder than making it. But, let me know what you think.
Honey White Balsamic Vinaigrette
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Mix all ingredients together. Shake like heck (just make sure the cover is on.) Enjoy!