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Essential Vinaigrette

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  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 cup oil (this can be 1 full cup of a slightly nutty or neutral oil, such as sunflower or grapeseed, or 2/3 cup neutral oil plus 1/3 cup stronger-flavored oil, such as olive, sesame, or walnut)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar or another kind of acidic ingredient, such as citrus juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel shallot, cut in half through the stem ends, and cut. If you will be mixing the salad dressing in a blender or food processor, you can chop the shallot roughly. If you’ll be whisking the dressing by hand, you’ll want to mince the shallot.   
  2. If you’re using a blender, combine all of the ingredients, and purée. The mustard will act as an emulsifier, which means that it will allow the oil and vinegar to mix, and it will make the resulting dressing seem creamy, even though it isn’t.
  3. If you’re making the dressing by hand, you could combine all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid, and shake it. Or, you could combine everything except the oil in a bowl, and drizzle in the oil while whisking.
  4. When you are dressing a salad, start with less dressing than you think you’ll need, add it to the bowl with the greens, and toss gently with tongs. Taste a leaf, and add more dressing, or salt, as needed.