Monday, May 18, 2009

Sherry Vinaigrette

We eat salad everyday at our house and I never post the dressing recipes since I assume everyone has a favorite dressing. My friends have convinced me that I should post some of my salad dressing recipes.

This dressing is one of my basic recipes. The first thing you will notice is that I do not follow the 3 to 1 ratio that is classic. I find that when dressings are three parts oil to one part acid they are too fatty for my taste. I started making my salads 2 to 1 and then moved to 1 to 1 a few years ago. The nice thing about this type of dressing is that it has a lot of flavor due to the proportion change and therefore you use less but don’t miss the flavor.

There are pluses and minuses to using olive oil in dressing. The big plus is that it takes good and is good for you. The negatives are that it is expensive and that it congeals in the refrigerator. I normally use an organic extra virgin olive oil in my salads because I like the flavor. If you choose to do this know that you need to take it out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you want to toss the salad.

The mustard is not absolutely necessary in this dressing in terms of flavor, but it is required for the dressing to stay emulsified for a while. If you make the dressing without the mustard will be emulsify, but it won’t stay emulsified for long.

Sherry Vinaigrette
Makes enough for 8 – 10 large individual salads


4 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (I use about ½ a teaspoon of each)
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme, optional


Add the salt and pepper to the sherry vinegar and whisk. By adding the salt to the vinegar it helps the salt to dissolve, before the oil is added. Add the Dijon and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil and whisk to emulsify the dressing. If you are using the oregano add it here and whisk it into the dressing. The oregano flavor will develop as the dressing sits in the refrigerator.

Store the dressing in a covered jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to make a salad. I use about a tablespoon of dressing per salad. When you remove the dressing from the refrigerator give the jar a good shake and the dressing will emulsify again if it has broken.


If you like the taste of mustard this vinaigrette is also good with twice the amount of Dijon. My husband isn’t a huge fan of mustard so I try to keep it somewhat subtle. You can taste the mustard in this dressing but it isn’t the most dominant flavor. The sherry vinegar gives the dressing a nice subtle acidic hit. This dressing is one of my go to dressings. When I am not adding the shallot I make this dressing in a smaller quantity in the salad bowl right before I toss the salad. If you want you can grate a little garlic into this dressing for added flavor. Don’t add more than one large clove or it will be overpowering.

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