We've already established that there's no need to spend money on store-bought salad dressing when you can make a bunch of your own using a few guidelines. But if you learn just one all-purpose dressing, make it this perfect lemon vinaigrette.
This recipe comes from Causwells, a restaurant in San Francisco that makes a mean cheeseburger. I brought a friend in to try the burger at lunch, and something funny happened: as much as we loved our burgers, we found ourselves gushing about the lightly-dressed greens they came with on the side. They were coated in a dressing that was punchy enough to make you want another bite, but not so sour it made your mouth pucker. The salt level was enough to draw out all of the lettuce and vinaigrette's flavours, but it wasn't too salty, either. The mixed greens salad wasn't just good -- it was perfect. And I never, ever say that about mixed greens.
"This is great dressing for a simple salad, because it lets you taste the different types of lettuce in the mix, and it adheres well to the lettuce," Adam Rosenblum, the restaurant's executive chef, told me. "I use it as a base for so many other dressings and marinades."
Another thing to note about this vinaigrette is that it stays emulsified, thanks to a dab of Dijon mustard and a whirr in the blender. The second part is critical; the first time I made it, I skipped over this part, and the dressing quickly separated (as you can tell by the vinaigrette in the photo). But give it a spin in the blender, and you'll never worry about the dressing breaking. Here's Rosenblum's recipe:
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard (creamy, not whole-grain)
- 1/4 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 5 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/4 cup 90/10 soybean/olive oil (note: you could also use vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup pure extra-virgin olive oil
Place first seven ingredients in the blender on medium speed; slowly stream in oils until completely emulsified. Makes about 2 cups.