Salads can be light and refreshing or hearty and filling. Emulsions, such as balsamic vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based dressings, may be considered the most important part of a salad by some as they have the power to unite the flavors of the other ingredients.
An emulsion is the mixing of two unmixable liquids – one water-based and one oil-based – by physical agitation. Unless there is the presence of a protein, which stabilizes the suspension of the molecules, the mixture is temporary and will split in two. Vinaigrettes are unstable emulsions (e.g., oil and vinegar) and dressings are stable emulsions due to the presence of a protein (e.g., from the eggs in mayonnaise).
In the short video “Unstable vs. Stable Emulsions” (one in a series on salad dressings & vinaigrettes) you will learn the science behind creating healthy, flavorful salads. (Public access expires December 3, 2012.)
Have a fresh day!
The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team