It seems like everyone in my family has their own special salad dressing recipe. My brother taught me his tahini dressing recipe, my mom makes a super-garlicky vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and anchovies, and my dad has two specialties — one he learned from his mother that includes canned tomato soup, and a perfect balsamic vinaigrette.
As for me? I’ve concocted a few delicious dressings of my own: one vinaigrette includes fresh lime juice and cumin, another uses sesame oil and soy sauce, and I even make a dead-easy miso dressing, enriched with mayonnaise and sweetened with agave syrup. And then there’s my Green Goddess dressing, creamy and light.
My latest invention is this Honey Dijon Vinaigrette. It’s got lots of punch from Kimberly Organic Red Wine Vinegar — with 6.5% acidity (the usual is 5%), they’re not fooling around! Whatever red wine vinegar you use, make sure it’s nice and piquant — my mom’s favorite, Barengo, is widely available. With even more kick from Dijon mustard (we always keep Grey Poupon on hand), fresh garlic, and ground black pepper, the vinaigrette is mellowed out with just enough honey to keep all those intense ingredients in check.
Making vinaigrette is all about tasting as you go — everyone’s preferences are different, and you’ll want to tweak recipes to suit your own. A little too tart? Add some more oil or some sweetener. Not tangy enough? You might need more vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a pinch of salt. Oh, and always taste your vinaigrette on a piece of lettuce or whatever else you’ll be serving it on — this way, you’ll get an accurate idea of how it will taste on your salad. I served mine with some beautiful red beets, showered with lots of chives snipped fresh from the garden.
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
makes about 3/4 C.
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. clover honey
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1. Combine ingredients in a small glass jar. Screw on lid and shake vigorously.