Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Best Salad - Mom's Salad Dressing (Basic French Vinaigrette)

My Mother always makes the best salad. Everyone says so. No one ever offers to take this dish at potlucks, they leave it to the professional.

Not that my Mother was a professional cook, not at all. She has a fairly standard repertoire (be it chicken, pasta, steak or her famous pecan sandie cookies) but it is always delicious and comforting. I think that's true for many people. In the end, the things we really crave and what feels most nourishing are the foods that were cooked by our Mothers. And for me, tasting her salad dressing when I'm home always signals that I am indeed, at home. Tucked into the table with a glass of red wine, the people I love and the most loyal dog of all time curled up under my chair.

Mom's Salad Dressing (or your basic French Vinaigrette)

2 parts good olive oil (I suggest Bariani which can be found at Whole Foods)
1 part red wine or sherry vinegar
1 clove chopped garlic (I don't care what Anthony Bourdain says, I love my garlic press and use it constantly)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. Dress almost any manner of salad. Especially delicious on baby arugula, butterleaf, mixed greens, chopped romaine. I like to toast up pumpkin seeds or pinenuts and finely slice red onion to go in the salad. Also great with thinly sliced cucumbers, apples or pared grapefruit.


  1. You're welcome! I should also add that you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar as well.