I acquired my beloved vinaigrette recipe in enchanting Paris. There I learned the secrets to this simple receipt in the fall of 1985.
At that time I cooked many historical meals at a French friend’s apartment, close to the Louvre. Mornings found me seeking needed ingredients at a profusion of quaint Parisian shops. There was much mercy for my broken French among the shop owners, who grew to know me.
A flurry of grand entertainment resulted from the hosting of these elaborate meals. Our varied guests returned warm hospitality in their abodes on alternate nights. My passion for art galleries quickened during the days when they reciprocated our harmonious feasting.
Indeed, Paris charmed me during that September in the mid-1980s!
My balsamic vinaigrette is extremely simple. (We used raspberry vinegar for this same recipe in Paris.) I always dress my famous salads with this balsamic and my father’s blue cheese dressing, which is next week’s tantalizing post.
Peggy’s Balsamic Vinaigrette Yields: about 22 ounces. Total prep time: 20 min. Note: may repeat these easy steps to make a double batch; keeps well when refrigerated; any kind of vinegar may be substituted for the balsamic.
5 large cloves of garlic, more to taste if smaller
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Use protected Aceto Balsamico from Modena, Italy, which can be expensive, available reasonably at Trader Joe’s.)
3/4 tsp dried oregano leaves (A great, organic dried oregano is available at Trader’s for $1.99.)
1 tsp dried basil leaves (Also a bargain at Trader’s.)
1/4 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (Real Salt is best, at hand in natural foods section at local supermarket.)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste
1 tsp high quality mustard (Aiola mustard from Trader’s is ideal.)
1 cup Bel’Olio Extra Light Olive Oil (I prefer this light olive oil, available at Costco; other olive oils are strong in taste.)
- Peel and cut garlic cloves in half; place in a dry 11-cup, or larger, food processor; chop garlic, stopping machine twice to scrape down sides. IF you are making two recipes, chop the garlic for both at once; set half aside. (If you don’t have a food processor, may chop cloves fine with a sharp knife; may also use a Vita Mix or blender to make dressing.)
- Add vinegar, herbs, sugar, salt, pepper, and mustard to the garlic.
- Turn on processor; leave running.
Fill the feeder with oil. (The feeder is the plunger that fits in the top of the food processor; it has a small hole in the bottom of it; this allows the oil to drip into vinegar mixture slowly, thus emulsifying the dressing; see photo.) Use all the oil in this manner. If you are using a blender, be sure to add oil very slowly, blending as you go to emulsify dressing.
- Adjust seasonings to taste. Note: the garlic should taste really strong, as it mellows dramatically after a couple of days.
- Pour into bottles, using a funnel. Save used glass jars for this purpose; be sure to sterilize.
- Keeps in the refrigerator for months, or at room temperature for several weeks. It’s often necessary to leave dressing out at room temperature, for at least an hour before using, when stored in the refrigerator, as the cold oil sometimes solidifies. Hot tap water will melt the solid oil, also.