Julia Child’s Basic Vinaigrette

It’s salad season and nothing beats a simple, homemade dressing. Julia Child said “The perfect vinaigrette is so easy to make that I see no reason whatsoever for bottled dressings.” Who are we to argue?

Adapted from “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking,” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)

1/2 tablespoon finely minced shallot

1/2 tablespoon Dijon-type mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon wine vinegar

1/3 –1/2 cup excellent olive oil (extra virgin)

Freshly ground pepper

Shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar, or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended, start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in the fresh pepper. Taste (dip a piece of salad greens into the dressing) and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice. If you have overdone the oil, salt will correct it.

You can also use a food processor, blender or my favorite tool for this process, a mini food processor.

Dress your salad lightly at first, tossing to coat. The idea is to add to the greens, not smother the greens. A little goes a long way.

Leftover dressing holds for about a week, tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Yield: 6-8 servings, makes about 2/3 cup