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Dijon Vinaigrette & Marinade


This is top-shelf version of a basic, traditional vinaigrette.  Many variations apply, so experiment away.  We keep a mason jar full (less the Dijon and herbs) in the fridge, customizing it with ethnic spices and/or various herbs to suit the occasion (see links below for suggestions).

Forget to pick up a hostess gift?  Whip up a fresh batch and present it in a small mason jar or re-purposed glass bottle.  Keep a stash of our grommeted, pre-strung kitchen gift tags on hand for just such occasions.

  • ½ cup red or white wine vinegar (we often use Champagne, tarragon, basil or other herb vinegar - for tips on how to make your own, go here and scroll to bottom of page)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground  pepper
  • 1-2 fresh or confit garlic cloves, crushed, or 1 tablespoon minced shallot - optional
  • 1½ cups good quality olive oil like Domenica Fiore (we used Olio Classico)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried herbs

See recipes for Asian Vinaigrette, Curried Vinaigrette, Grill Vinaigrette, Italian Vinaigrette, Moroccan Vinaigrette, Mexican Vinaigrette and Thai Vinaigrette.

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In small bowl, combine all ingredients except the herbs and whisk briskly. Add herbs and whisk again. Chill before serving.

The classic vinaigrette is a place to start and experiment with different herbs and flavored vinegars. Try it without the mustard, and substitute olive for grapeseed or nut oils.

Use the vinaigrette as a base for marinades as well, adding herbs and spices to best suit the meat, seafood or vegetable.

C@H Tip:  Making salad ahead of time is near impossible, but sometimes essential when pressed for time or planning a party. Our tip is to slice and dice everything but the lettuces (ie: julienne veggies, fruit, berries, nuts etc) that goes into the salad, and toss them in a small bowl in enough vinaigrette to coat (the acid in the dressing prevents oxidation of fruit as well - bonus) before storing in the fridge ahead of time.  Just before serving, toss the bowlful of marinated bits and pieces, in with the lettuce and any fresh herbs, add more dressing to suit, add any remaining soft bits like feta or goat cheese - and you're done in seconds.

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C@H Kitchen