vin.jpgOn 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?



Comments (9)

June 29, 2009

I love French vinaigrette… I never knew about mixing in the salt before adding the oil!

June 29, 2009

talking about strict rules… in Italy it would be unthinkable to use anything but extra-virgin olive oil!!

June 29, 2009

Salad dressing is so personal, eh? My husband hated salad as a kid, but finally realized it was the vinegar he hates! So now his fave is just olive oil, lemon, some good sea salt and pepper.

June 30, 2009

And here is another rule. In south france you never ( my grandmother from Nimes insist on this) eat the salat (green or mixed leaves) before but after the main course. Which is not the case in northern france.

June 30, 2009

Hi Simone,
But of course, the salad is to be eaten after the main course. What else!!
(This is how we eat it, but in the US the salad is used to be eaten as a starter, and in the Nehterlands the salad accompagnies the main course — on the same plate!!!)

July 1, 2009

Just wanted to share our favourite dressing, which is made by mixing olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard & honey. I cannot tell you the exact quantities, it’s a question of how mild or hot you like your dressing…
This makes a rather sweet & creamy dressing that goes very well with lamb’s lettuce.

July 2, 2009

Some French friends of ours shared this family dressing. Just before serving dinner, mince some garlic, almost so small it is a paste. Place in salad mixing bowl and add enough good sea salt to just coat the garlic. Let this sit through dinner. This mellows out the garlic and gives it an almost nutty quality. When ready for the salad course add some good olive oil and loosen up the garlic-salt mixture. Lightly coat the salad greens with this mixture and then add good red wine vinegar to taste. We often serve this with a nice bit of cheese.

July 30, 2010

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