I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mother, playing her eager apprentice in the kitchen. As she dashed around, adding a little of this and a little of that to steaming pans, she occasionally paused and shared some of her secrets with me. One of my favorites is how to make a vinaigrette, but of course, I didn’t come to appreciate it until much later.
My mom insisted on having a salad with dinner every night. I hated salad, wondering aloud why we needed to ruminate like cows on bland greens. But regardless of how much I complained, a few leaves of fresh green salad tossed in a zesty vinaigrette were deposited on my plate every night before I could tuck into my cheese course.
With age comes wrinkles, saggy boobs, and thankfully wisdom. I now enjoy a nice chopped salad, and eagerly whip up my mother’s vinaigrette to top it off. I’ve made it my own by substituting balsamic vinegar instead of white wine vinegar to make it a little sweeter. Otherwise, the recipe remains the same, nothing fancy, just a few ingredients emulsified with a few seconds of vigorous fork whisking, and the end result is still far superior to anything you’ll buy ready-made.
1/4 cups of olive oil
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
a few pinches of salt
a few grinds of pepper
- Pour the olive oil in a bowl.
- Add the balsamic, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Stir vigorously with a fork until the dressing is completely emulsified, with a uniform, gleaming dark sheen. This is your opportunity for a little showmanship, letting the tines of the fork clang against the edges of the bowl as you make this easy dressing seem a little magical. Alternatively you could pour it into a closed container and shake it roughly, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
- Pour on your salad. Toss. Eat immediately.