This white balsamic vinaigrette is easy enough to make two or three times a week, and the unique flavor of the white balsamic vinegar will ensure that your taste buds will always have something to look forward to, even if you have it every day.
You’re probably familiar with the dark-colored, fruity and tart-sweet balsamic vinegar. It’s made from a sweet variety of white grapes known as Trebbiano grapes, which originate in Italy. First, they’re pressed, and the resulting juice is slowly simmered until syrupy, during which time it also develops its dark color as the sugars caramelize. This sweet, dark syrup is then fermented and aged in barrels for at least 12 years.
An important part of the aging process is evaporation—as the water evaporates, the flavor of the vinegar is concentrated. Each year, the vinegar is transferred to smaller and smaller barrels, made of different woods, each of which contributes its unique flavor and color characteristics.
But What’s White Balsamic?
White balsamic is made the same way, except it isn’t caramelized, and instead of wooden barrels, it’s aged in stainless steel casks. The resulting vinegar is a lovely golden color, and while it lacks the complexity of traditional balsamic vinegar, it is quite a bit sweeter and more flavorful than ordinary white wine vinegar.
The golden hue is part of what makes white balsamic so appealing. As delicious as traditional balsamic is, a dark-colored vinaigrette doesn’t work in every situation.
This sweet, dark syrup is then fermented and aged in barrels for at least 12 years.
A reminder, as always, when you’re making a vinaigrette, that it’s best if your ingredients are at room temperature—both because cold temperatures inhibit the formation of an emulsion, and also because the flavors blend better at room temperature.
By the way, the instructions below specify whisking the ingredients together in a glass bowl, and a reason for using glass is that the acids in the vinegar and lemon juice can react with aluminum, imparting a metallic taste to the dressing. You could use stainless steel, but it’s simplest to stick with glass, because while it’s conceivable you could mistake aluminum for stainless steel, glass is obviously glass.
You could also just skip the whisk altogether and simply combine the ingredients in a glass jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. This method has the added convenience of letting you mix and store the dressing in the same vessel. It also gives you a way to reuse those glass jars that seem to collect so rapidly.
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the vinegar and lemon juice in a glass bowl.
Slowly whisk in the oil until fully combined.
Whisk in the honey.
Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.