Every adult—male and female—should know how to iron a shirt, jump a battery, and make a simple salad dressing. Since this is a food blog, let’s take a look at making your very own vinaigrette. There’s no need to have a variety of store-bought dressings, filling the refrigerator when you can make so many palate-pleasing mixtures with a whisk and a few basic ingredients.
I like to include a bit of mustard in my homemade vinaigrettes. I’m still experimenting with some of the varieties I brought home from France this fall. I shopped at a Maille “mustard boutique,” where they had 50 varieties of mustard infused with such ingredients as balsamic vinegar, wine, black truffles, pesto, figs, candied orange peel and black chanterelles.
I’m sure some of those designer mustards are available here in St. Louis, or at Maille on line, but tourists like to lug home mementos of their travels. (Though London TSA—no doubt, thinking I was the “mustard bomber”—relieved me of several jars that I tried to wrap safely in my carry-on bag.)
A Dab of Mustard and a Bit of Honey
Now that I have a supply of good mustard, I often make a quick vinaigrette for an evening salad. When I do, I start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Maille (or Dijon) and whisk in 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon honey, 3 tablespoons of olive oil along with a little salt and pepper. (The vinaigrette works without the honey, but I prefer a hint of sweetness.)
When I want enough salad dressing for several days, I make this Balsamic Vinaigrette that makes more than a cup of dressing. Since homemade dressing has no additives to keep it from solidifying, you need to take it out of the refrig ahead of time so it can liquefy.
You will soon get addicted to your “House Blend.” After pitching those store-bought dressings, you’ll also reclaim a few cubic feet of refrigerator space. What’s more, you’ll feel like a kitchen chemist, whisking and tasting and adding a smidge more of this and that until you get the perfect combination for your salads.