It is often said that a dressing makes the salad. The first use of dressing was recorded in 393 BC. The Babylonian era already saw cooks experimenting with oil and vinegar. In Western cooking, dressings are divided into two categories:
- vinaigrettes (e.g. with oil, vinegar, water, mustard as basic ingredients)
- creamy dressings (e.g. with mayonnaise or yoghurt as a basic ingredient)
The most commonly used proportion of oil to vinegar in a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
To make a dressing that will keep, you will need to add an emulsifying agent to enable the oil to mix with the other fluids used (e.g. vinegar). A typical example of an emulsifying agent in a vinaigrette dressing is egg yolk or mustard.