I keep including this as part of another recipe, but I think it’s time it had its own post. I learned this one from Martha, (Gaby’s mom and basically my other mother), though I’ve modified it a bit, which you may have to do as well, depending on the age and viscosity and flavor of your vinegars.
Yield: salad for four (approximately)
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dark balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
I like to use a mortar and pestle, partly because that’s what I learned from Martha, and partly because I love my mortar and pestle, and it’s more fun than making dressing directly in a jar or with a whisk.
This first step is very important, so read the whole instructions before diving in.
Combine vinegars and mustard first before adding any oil. The mixture needs to fully emulsify before you add the oil, otherwise, you’ll have disparate chunks of mustard floating instead of a smooth blend.
After the mustard and vinegars are fully combined, add the oil. Mix until combined, then taste it. If the vinegar is too biting, add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, re-mix, and taste again. I find the lemon and salt will usually nip the bite from the vinegar without stripping the tanginess. You may end up playing the back and forth adding game until you get the flavor balance right. If I have fresh lemons, I’ll use them, otherwise the bottled juice works great.
If you’re not planning on using the whole of your fresh dressing on one salad (aka you aren’t serving a family), store the rest in a jar. You could keep it out, but I tend to refrigerate mine, since there’s mustard in it. I always set it on the counter before I start to cook so it will have reached room temperature by the time I dress my salad (it tends to congeal in the fridge)
Super easy, basic recipe. You can use as many kinds of vinegar as you like, as long as the proportion to oil and mustard remains the same.