Two Vinaigrettes

Enough to dress one large salad

I usually make my vinaigrette in a salad bowl and then dump the greens on top and toss, but that’s when I use my everyday vinaigrette and quantities of greens I’m used to. A more classic, and perhaps more reliable method is one the Italians use: salt the greens lightly, then add the amount of dressing you need and toss; or lightly coat the salad greens in olive oil, and sprinkle on vinegar or lemon juice to give it the zing you want. Either way, toss and taste it to be sure you like the flavor. Since the salt and acid should balance each other, if your dressing tastes too salty, add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to bring it into balance. Likewise, add salt if your dressing tastes too acidic. Finally, grind on some pepper as a finishing touch.

Rebecca’s Everyday Vinaigrette


1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (use half that amount or less if your sea salt is finely ground)
1/2 teaspoon shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce)
scant 1/4 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
freshly-ground black pepper


1. In a small bowl, or in a salad bowl–whichever you prefer–mash the minced garlic with the sea salt.

2. Add the shoyu, honey and lemon juice and mix.

3. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, stirring as you go.

4. Taste the dressing and correct the seasoning. It may need more sea salt or more lemon juice. When you have it right, the flavors will pop. This dressing can be made just before serving, but it tastes even better if you give the flavors several hours or as long as overnight to meld.

5. Grind fresh pepper over the dressed salad just before serving.



Master Vinaigrette Recipe


1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
freshly-ground black pepper


1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar
buttermilk in place of a portion of olive oil
a clove of minced garlic
a finely-chopped shallot
fresh herbs like basil, tarragon or chives


1. Combine the first four ingredients in a jar and shake well, or combine the same ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

2. Add any embellishments and serve. If you are using a shallot or fresh herbs, it may work better to add these just before serving.

Copyright 2011, Ellen Arian, Ellen’s Food & Soul