- 1 part vinegar (a nice balsamic)
- 3 parts oil (a nice olive oil)
- Splash of citrus juice
- Dijon mustard
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Adapted from culinaryarts.about.com
For best results, all your ingredients should be at room temperature when you begin. The cooler the oil, the more difficult it is to make an emulsion.
The most effective way of combining the oil and the vinegar is in a blender. If you don't have a blender, you can combine everything in a glass or stainless steel bowl and just whisk them together thoroughly. (Just don't use an aluminum bowl — the acid in the vinegar can react with the aluminum, producing a metallic flavor.) You could even seal the ingredients in a clean glass jar or bottle and shake to combine.
Once you've mixed things up, it's nice to let the flavors meld for a while, especially when you go beyond the basic formula and introduce additional ingredients like minced onion, garlic, herbs and so on. Ideally, then, you'd prepare the vinaigrette in advance and then let it sit for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Just don't refrigerate it during this time!
Honey happens to be a great addition to a vinaigrette, firstly because it adds sweetness, which is nice sometimes to counterbalance the tartness from your vinegar, citrus or whatever. But also because it helps stabilize the emulsion. A vinaigrette with honey in it will remain emulsified for a long time — certainly longer than it takes to eat a salad. Honey vinaigrettes are great for presentations, where you don't want the oil and vinegar separating all over the plate.