My mom made the best vinaigrette dressing when I was a kid. There was always a big jar of it in the fridge and I remember cutting wedges of iceberg letter just so I could eat the dressing.
This taught me the importance of a good vinaigrette. Yet, my mother’s exact recipe is long gone and, to this day, I improvise each time.
If you are the kind of person who needs to follow a recipe, I’m sure there’s a million out there.
In the meantime, here is how I do it:
1. Oil and vinegar, four parts to one. You can use olive oil or plain old canola. Red wine, white wine or balsamic vinegar. Or malt. Or rice. (My mom used to use vegetable oil because it doesn’t solidify in the fridge.)
2. Fresh garlic, crushed. A clove or two. You can use powder if you must.
3. Lemon juice, fresh squeezed. I dunno, wing it. But not too much.
4. Mustard powder, say a teaspoon. I often use real dijon these days because I love it.
5. Sugar, for just a hint of sweetness.
6. Pepper, fresh ground. To taste.
7. Salt, the kosher kind – and a healthy pinch. Salt makes the dressing – and remember, it’s going to be spread all over the healthy stuff.
That’s it. Mix it up and keep tasting and adjusting until you love it. If it’s too tangy, add some oil or soften the bite with a bit of sugar. If it’s too oily, you need more acid – add some vinegar or lemon. Sure, throw some dried oregano or basil in there if you like. But don’t skimp on the salt.
Having a vinaigrette dressing around is a great thing. First, it tastes better after a few days in the fridge. And it’s versatile – I like to make it a bit more lemony and then use it as a marinade for Greek-style skewered chicken. (Wow – great dinner idea for this week!)
But I always keep a head of iceberg in the fridge for those late night snacks.