Honey Lime Vinaigrette – Summer Fresh
Sweet and sour, tangy and tart. A fresh blast of citrus to make your seasonal salads sing. Honey Lime Vinaigrette tossed with your favorite fruit, accented with greens and nuts and paired with your favorite grilled protein is sure to make summer meals amazing.
I love the play of sweet vs. savory and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy this vinaigrette. Enough acid to take the edge off sharp red onions, enough sweetness to underscore mango (as we have in our Spring Strawberry Mango Avocado Salad), Honey Lime Vinaigrette is so versatile. Along with our standard Mustard Vinaigrette, it’s a household staple.
The key to a great vinaigrette is the emulsification; that creamy blend of acid and oil that makes for a smooth and elegant pour – as opposed to a separated, gloopy mess. To my mind a proper vinaigrette should be fully, or at least partially, emulsified.
Emulsify | Definition
verb emul·si·fy \ i-ˈməl-sə-ˌfī \
emulsified; emulsifying transitive verb
Three factors contribute to a solid emulsification:
- The balance of oil vs liquid (vinegar, citrus, juice, fruit puree). Ideally your ratio should be 3 to 1, three parts oil to one part liquid. I use the word “liquid” because, if you want a less acidic result you can reduce your acid/citrus by half and replace the remaining volume with plain water and still get a stable result.
- A stabilizing agent or surfactant. Eggs (yoke mostly), mustard and honey are very common stabilizers in vinaigrettes. If I’m looking for a creamy hold in a particularly difficult vinaigrette, I’ll often add a tablespoon of mayo (egg) to help those pesky fat molecules to suspend individually rather than sticking together. In the pro-kitchen I’ve also used Agar Agar (a type of seaweed) and Guar Gum (derived from Guar Beans), which hold longer for sustained shelf life.
- Technique. Technique. Technique. Key to a stable, smooth emulsion is the slow addition of oil. In this recipe for Honey Lime Vinaigrette we add our citrus (lime), stabilizers (honey and grainy Dijon mustard) along with our seasoning and spices all at once, then, SLOWLY add the oil as we whisk or blend for best results. Some advocate shaking all ingredients together in a jar, personally I’ve never found that method to hold in an emulsified state for very long. However, if I am keeping a prepared vinaigrette in the fridge for a couple of days and I’m just starting to see a bit of separation, a good shake will bring it all back to that smooth, milky state.
Cuisine is as much a science as it is an art, for more on rockin’ your vinaigrette and the science of ‘how to’ check out this post from the Serious Eats Food Lab and geek away. Technique and ratios, the basics of cooking in volume and seeing consistent results every single time.
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup light cooking oil (safflower, grape seed, canola)
- salt & pepper - to taste
- Add honey, lime juice, grainy mustard, cumin, salt and pepper to a deep vessel, medium bowl or blender.
- Gradually add oil, in a thin, steady stream as you whisk, blend with your immersion blender or through the hole on the lid of the blender as you blend at medium high speed. Slowly drizzle oil until it's fully incorporated and your vinaigrette is smooth and opaque.
- Remove from measuring cup, bowl or blender and store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate until needed.