It is imperative to follow a precise sequence when preparing a Balsamic Vinegar Dressing for all types of salads. Differently, the often expensive flavor of Italian Balsamic Vinegar is lost at the bottom of the salad bowl. The sequence is the following:
Salt goes first, followed by Balsamic Vinegar; and, last, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Toss salad vigorously at every step.
Salt is used in food preparations for its ability to extract flavor from ingredients. Salt is like a magnet. Without it food flavor remains dormant inside the ingredient. In fact, a saltless recipe is generally bland and uninviting. Hence, spread salt evenly over the salad and toss well to drive salt in every nook and cranny of the salad leaves. The amount of salt to be used is a personal choice dictated by diet concerns. However, a minimum amount of salt is always required.
Balsamic Vinegar is second in the sequence to give it a full chance to permeate as much of the greens as possible. Hence, add enough Balsamic Vinegar and toss and toss. The reason for adding Balsamic Vinegar secondly is because Extra Virgin Olive Oil in second position would cover the greens with a slippery film impeding the penetration of the Balsamic Vinegar, which would simply slide down to the bottom making the entire effort downright worthless and tasteless. Also, it’s important to note that good quality Italian Balsamic Vinegar can be quite expensive. It is important to exploit its full capacity.
If you went through the trouble of procuring a good italian Balsamic Vinegar then there is no reason to shortchange yourself with a bad Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Do use a good enough amount of very good and expensive Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The difference in taste is immense. Keep in mind that all in all a relatively minimum amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is needed for salad dressing. It’s a good idea to have stored in the pantry an excellent Extra Virgin Olive Oil for to be used exclusively for salad dressing. Don’f forget to toss the salad after adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Generally, the ratio of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Balsamic Vinegar is 3 to 1, that is three parts of oil to one part of vinegar. However, the ratio is not set in stone. Before use, taste your balsamic vinegar to gauge its degree of flavor and consistency and use your best instinctual judgement (usually long aged balsamic vinegars are very flavorful compare to younger ones). Do the same for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
An Italian Balsamic Vinegar Dressing for salad is different from a common Vinaigrette, which is usually prepared in advance by whisking Olive Oil and wine Vinegar together. With common vinaigrettes after a brief while the vinegar descends to the bottom; consequently, it must be shaken again to have any consistency. Moreover, with vinaigrette the phenomenon repeats even after pouring the vinaigrette over the salad: after a while the vinegar descends to the bottom of the salad bowl never really impregnating the greens. It’s easy to imagine that the same would happen when using precious Italian Balsamic Vinegar; thus, seriously compromising the effectiveness of the dressing.
A Humorous Proverb Worth Mentioning
A Spanish proverb says that four persons are necessary to the proper preparation of a salad: —a spendthrift for oil, a miser for vinegar, a counsellor for salt, and a madman to stir it all up.