On my French side of my family there are very strict rules concerning salad dressing, dating at least back to my grandfather, a French gourmet of the highest degree. The very idea of using anything but good sun flower oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard to dress a salad is met with disdain. My grandfather pre-made his own dressing in a big bottle and never let anyone make it for him. It just needed to be shaken before pouring it into a salad bowl.
My mother married a foreigner and and on returning home would shock her relatives by telling stories about such calamities as ranch, thousand island or even salad cream dressings!
I reckon I am a bit more open to new suggestions about how to dress a salad than the average person in my family, but I do still reckon that my grandfather’s recipe is the best.
It is very easy:
Pour red wine vinegar into a bowl, add the salt and stir until it dissolves. It’s important to add the salt before you add the oil as the salt does not dissolve in oil. Add 3 times the quantity of sunflower oil than vinegar and a generous helping of Dijon mustard. While preparing it you will notice how the oil, vinegar and mustard separate into different layers. Put on the lid or cork and shake well until they are completely combined. We often add finely cut chives or finely chopped challots to the dressing.
Now, the important thing is never to toss the salad until you serve it. The dressing should only coat the leaves, never soak in…. Who knew that there were so many rules regarding dressing a salad?