There’s more than one way to whisk, whisk it good (sorry). When emulsifying a vinaigrette, you’re trying to incorporate two liquids that don’t normally mix, like oil and vinegar. Whisking breaks up the oil into tiny droplets and spreads it out evenly so you get one smooth mixture.
The two liquids don’t stay together long—if you’ve ever dressed a salad and gotten only the slick of oil from the top of bottle, you know exactly what we mean. Keeping the emulsion for longer (up to 15 minutes) is all about how you whisk it.
Tilting the bowl with one hand so the vinaigrette pools in one portion of the bowl, whisk the liquid from side to side, drawing a figure 8. The movement of the two liquids pushing back and forth against each other breaks up the oil and holds it in place. Whisking in a circle just moves the ingredients around the bowl without really combining them.
The figure 8 technique also works well for whipping cream and egg whites by trapping air rather than oil. It also makes for a smooth cake batter (no flour lumps). Warm up your wrists and give it a try!
Story contributed by Plated Recipe Editor Hannah Klinger.
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