For A Flavor-Bursting Vinaigrette, Simply Add More Vinegar

Vinaigrette is perhaps one of the most versatile condiments you can keep in the refrigerator. It's not only a salad dressing, but you can also use it as a marinade or a cold sauce, per Escoffier. The two main ingredients in a vinaigrette — oil and vinegar — make it a perfect accompaniment to all sorts of dishes, from roasted vegetables to fish to grilled meat. The tanginess from the acid, whether vinegar or lemon juice, gives heavy dishes bright, high notes they need to be balanced and taste great, per MasterClass.

A good base vinaigrette recipe starts with a three-to-one ratio of oil to vinegar with a dollop of mustard to help emulsify the ingredients. Shallot and garlic are also added for extra depth and of course salt and pepper. You can whisk all the ingredients together or shake them up in a jar if whisking seems too time-consuming. If some days you find your vinaigrette not punchy enough for your needs, you might be better off turning the recipe on its head.

Experiment with different sources of acid and sweetness to boost flavor

The ratio touted in culinary schools is typically three parts oil to one part vinegar, per Escoffier. This should work for a salad dressing, but flipping the oil-to-vinegar ratio is an excellent idea for boosting the flavor of your vinaigrette, chef Ben Truesdell told Food & Wine. This is especially ideal if you're going to be pairing the vinaigrette with roasted meat or a steak. A heavy, meaty meal needs an acid to balance the dish — by reversing the ratio, you'll get more of those bright notes that perfectly complement fattier cuts of meat, like pork belly or a ribeye steak. However, if you do find that your reverse vinaigrette is too acidic, you can add more oil and balance the brightness with a bit of sweetness or some heat.

Don't be afraid to try different sources of acid, sweetness, and heat. Chef Truesdell will change up his base recipe depending on seasonality and what he's making by using different sources of sweetness like honey or maple syrup or umami flavors like fish sauce or mushroom powder. For heat, he likes to use chili powder or charred jalapeños. So the next time you're whipping up a vinaigrette, find a base recipe you like, and play around with the ratios and use different sources of sweetness and heat to create a flavor-bursting vinaigrette.