At some point in the history of salads, everyone agreed that the correct dressing ratio is one part vinegar to three parts oil. They’re all wrong. If you’re perpetually disappointed by vinaigrette recipes, do what I do: use half as much oil as the recipe calls for and go from there. That’s it, that’s the hack.
The “classic” 1:3 ratio sucks because it throws the balance between acidity and salt that makes a good vinaigrette, well, good. Adding too much oil dilutes the flavour you worked so hard to build with carefully chosen vinegars, minced aromatics, mustard, sugar and herbs. And if you’re using a bland, neutral oil — which you should be — it’s not like it’s contributing any flavour of its own.
The end product is so blah that you have to dump it on in order to taste it at all, which just leads to soggy, oily, over-dressed salad. No thanks!
Think about it this way: the perfect vinaigrette is intense enough that a few tablespoons is all you need to dress a huge bowl of greens — you’re not supposed to be able to happily slurp it down by the spoonful.
The punchier and sharper, the better, and the easiest way to achieve that is to use about half as much oil as you’ve been led to believe.