Restaurant menus often feature salads with "house made" vinaigrettes. These are usually excellent, but should in no way be intimidating to someone wanting to make their own. Without question, a well executed dressing can transform a salad from something mundane, to the most remarkable part of a meal, or a main dish in it's own right. In it's simplest form, a vinaigrette is olive oil mixed, or "emulsified" with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Here is a versatile version we here at The Robust Olive recommend:
Start with a medium sized bowl and toss in some kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Add some finely minced garlic, again to taste, but we prefer quite a bit.
Pour Traditional 18 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar over all of the ingredients and allow it to sit briefly. The acid from the vinegar will break down the other ingredients and allow them to "marry."
Continue vigorously whisking until the mixture thickens into a sauce like emulsion.
That's it! Drizzle onto a spinach and tomato salad for a dish that's as healthy as it is delicious. Of course you can add any fruits or vegetables you normally would, (blue and parmesan cheese are both fantastic) or add a protein to make it a complete meal. The combination of oils and vinegars is endless, but this is a nice place for beginners to start.