The Simple Way Rachael Ray Upgrades Salad Dressing

Rachael Ray smiling
Rachael Ray smiling - D Dipasupil/Getty Images

There are probably plenty of things you didn't know about Rachael Ray, but it's no secret that she can make incredible salad dressing. Whether it's balsamic or a Dijon-based vinaigrette, Ray has mastered the art of emulsions, and her secret is one magic ingredient. According to Ray, adding egg yolks to salad dressing while whisking can make it appear shinier and provide a richer taste. Egg yolks also add extra creaminess and can help bond the emulsion.

Egg yolks are a key ingredient in emulsions like mayonnaise, and they can easily be incorporated into salad dressing for the same effect. Emulsions are mixtures of liquids that do not typically combine due to their composition. If you've ever heard that oil and water don't mix, it's the same concept. Most vinaigrettes are oil and water combinations that must be vigorously mixed to become homogenous. In many of Ray's salad dressing recipes, you'll notice that she adds the oil slowly as she whisks. This allows time for small amounts of oil to fully combine with the watery contents. Essentially, egg yolks are excellent emulsifiers that speed up that process and prevent separation.

Putting egg yolks in salad dressing is not only helpful, but it's also quick and easy. As long as you don't mind a little raw egg, yolks can take your salad dressing to a whole new level.

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How To Incorporate Egg Yolks

Salad and egg yolk
Salad and egg yolk - Maren Caruso/Getty & New Africa/Shutterstock

In addition to vinaigrettes, egg yolks are the perfect ingredient to add to Caesar salad dressing. For example, Rachael Ray's "Upstate Caesar" recipe calls for an optional egg yolk to be included when blending, and based on the benefits of the yolks, you won't regret adding it. If you're unsure about the flavor, Caesar dressing is the ideal way to try it out.

Raw eggs have a mild taste, so unless you're super sensitive to eggy flavors, you likely won't notice it. The yolk has a buttery bite that will enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. The flavor pairs well with salty anchovies and tangy Worcestershire sauce in Caesar dressings. If you're concerned about the risk of salmonella, opt for a soft-boiled egg instead. You can achieve the same effect with the runny yolk of a half-cooked egg, and it's just as tasty.

You can use hard-boiled egg yolks to create thick and creamy salad dressings closer to the texture of ranch dressing, but Ray's expert tip focuses more on glossy vinaigrettes and classic Caesars. When emulsifying these kinds of dressing, focus on the ratio of fat to acid. Ray suggests using three times the amount of fat (like olive oil) as acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice). Luckily, egg yolks don't affect that simple salad math. So, the next time you're whipping up a homemade dressing, don't be afraid to toss that egg yolk in.

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