Recipes and Entertaining

Variations on Vinaigrette

The great thing I’ve found about vinaigrette is that you really can’t screw it up. Have oil? Some sort of vinegar – be it balsamic, cider, champagne or other? Salt and Pepper? Great, you’re all set! Everything can be varied per personal taste. And you’re making such a small portion, that if it urns out not to your liking, you can just chuck it and start all over.

Vinaigrettes can be made in advance and tossed on fresh greens right before serving. If tossed on salad too far in advance, your greens may wilt.

[Note: The following was inspired by a recipe published by Grace Perisi, of Food & Wine.]


 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (try also sherry or balsamic for a flavor twist)

1/2 tablespoon minced shallot (none on hand? Try the same amount of red onion)

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I’ve also gotten away with using whole grain mustard, like Maille, but Dijon is more delicate and smooth)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot and Dijon mustard. In a slow and steady stream, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified (should have a thicker, creamier consistency). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Variation 1Herb Vinaigrette: Add 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme and 1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon.

 Variation 2 – Lemon Vinaigrette: Substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice for the vinegar and add 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

Serve over your favorite greens! Yields 4-6 servings.


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