In My Kitchen: A Cookbook


Vinaigrette

The only salad dressing you'll ever need. (Featuring a few tricks I picked up from my father.)

Makes around a cup of dressing, enough for a couple of large salads. Go ahead and double it to make enough for a week, as it can be safely stored in a sealed container at room temperature.

Recipe

Olive oil, about a half cup
Use a nice olive oil, typically marked "extra virgin".
Vinegar, about a quarter cup
I typically use balsamic vinegar, but for a lighter taste you can use a red-wine vinegar, or a mixture of the two.
Variation: Any combination of optional ingredients, totaling a quarter cup or less:
Maple syrup, about one or two tablespoons
Whole grain mustard, about a tablespoon
Fresh goat cheese, about a tablespoon, finely crumbled or mashed into a paste
Fresh garlic, one large clove, finely grated or mashed into a paste, about half of a tablespoon
Try using the suggested amounts above for a good every-day vinaigrette, or use just some of them to accentuate the flavors of a particular salad.
For example, a light salad of pears and endives might benefit from a sweet and creamy sauce made with maple syrup and goat cheese, but no garlic.
For a heavier spinach salad you might prefer and a lot of mustard and garlic with only half the suggested amount of maple syrup.
If you're uncomfortable with garlic's pungency, use just part of a clove, or if you're a garlic lover, as much as two large cloves.
Put everything into a jar or other container with a tightly-fitting lid and shake very vigorously.
Keep shaking until all of the ingredients have merged, forming slightly-thickened emulsified whole.
Variation: You can also use a blender or food processor to whip the ingredients together.

Accompaniments

Lettuces and other field greens