Nothing beats a good, home-made vinaigrette. I usually keep a small jar in my fridge at all times, making whipping up a pasta or tomato salad just that much easier. Plus, by making your vinaigrette directly in a bottle or jar that has a lid, you can simply shake it to emulsify, saving yourself tedious moments of solitude as you whisk and whisk and realize that your oil is still separate from the rest.
This isn’t necessarily a proper recipe, so keep in mind that the general ratio is as follows: 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar to 1 part mustard (or a little less if you’re using spicy French mustard and can’t take the heat!). Don’t forget the salt and pepper! In the photos, I used walnut oil, red wine and shallot vinegar and hot Dijon mustard. I keep at least three kinds of oil and vinegar in my house at all times: olive, walnut and colza, and red wine/shallot, balsamic and raspberry. This way you can mix things up. Also, for a lighter alternative, replace one part of oil with fat free yogurt. This will give you a nice creamy dressing and knock out the calories without losing flavor!
The best advice I can give you is to have fun with it. Feel free to replace vinegar with citrus like I did here, to add bacon or garlic to your sauce or even bits of anchovies. The sky’s the limit, and don’t forget, a vinaigrette can always be “fixed” by adding more oil or vinegar, water or a touch of lemon to balance out the flavors. What are your favorite combinations?