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Keep Vinaigrette Emulsified With. . . Molasses?

It’s not for sweetness. It’s for a dressing with serious staying power.
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Published Apr. 1, 2022.

Regular salad eaters may often mix up a large batch of vinaigrette to last for several days. But no matter how carefully the oil is whisked into the other ingredients, it never stays emulsified for long. One option is to rewhisk the dressing in a bowl each time you serve it, but the sauce never truly comes back together.

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Our Make-Ahead Vinaigrette is the answer. It calls upon mustard and mayonnaise—two common emulsifiers in salad dressings that can hold a vinaigrette together for a little while. But the real key to the recipe’s longevity is molasses. A small amount (not enough to add noticeable sweetness) keeps the vinaigrette stabilized for an astonishing amount of time—at least a week. It works because molasses contains large compounds called melanoidins that increase the viscosity of the emulsion and make it difficult for the oil droplets to coalesce and separate from the water.

The vinaigrette holds together so well, you don’t even need to bother with whisking in the oil— just shake the jar to combine it with the other ingredients, for a dressing that’s easier than any you’ve ever made. Plus, you can customize it by substituting other oils (like hazelnut or walnut) for the olive oil, using any number of wine vinegars or lemon juice, or even throwing in aromatics like minced garlic and shallots.

For more details about the dressing, be sure to read this article.

Here’s the method:

  • Combine 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon light molasses, 1 tablespoon mustard, and ½ teaspoon salt in 2-cup jar with tight-fitting lid. 
  • Stir with fork until mixture is milky in appearance and no lumps of mayonnaise or molasses remain. 
  • Add ¼ cup wine vinegar, seal jar, and shake until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  • Add ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, seal jar, and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat, adding ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil in 2 additions, shaking vigorously until thoroughly combined after each addition. (After third addition, vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened, with no pools of oil on its surface.) 
  • Refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake briefly before using.

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