Everyday Shallot Vinaigrette

By Ann Fulton

This versatile vinaigrette is punchy enough to make a winning salad out of greens alone yet welcoming to all sorts of mix-ins. Plus it's quick to make with ingredients easily kept on hand.
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This versatile vinaigrette is punchy enough to make a winning salad out of greens alone yet welcoming to all sorts of mix-ins. Plus it’s quick to make with ingredients easily kept on hand.

 

With its crisp crunch, vibrant color, and fresh appeal, the right salad has the power to complete virtually any meal. The key is a vinaigrette that’s flavorful enough to make lettuce alone shine yet be welcoming to a broad range of mix-ins. 

Such is the case with the following vinaigrette, which relies on pantry ingredients while incorporating two unique twists. 

The first is the use of shallot instead of garlic. Shallots are mellower and sweeter than onions but offer a hint of sharpness similar to garlic. The quick salting step further mellows the flavor and softens the shallot. The resulting minced bits virtually melt into the dressing and add a hint of thickness too. 

The second point of interest is the vinegar. Though any vinegar will technically work, I like to use sherry vinegar, which is rich and nutty but only slightly sweet. Because it is blended and aged, sherry vinegar also tends to have a complex flavor that is less sharp than a red or white wine vinegar.

A small amount of Dijon mustard and honey balances the flavor and allows the components to emulsify once the olive oil is added. 

One batch of the vinaigrette yields a half cup, which is enough for two large or four smaller salads. If you keep a jar in the fridge–it will maintain freshness for a week or more and may be doubled–you’ll find a flavorful salad can be whipped up in less than five minutes.

Mix it up:

  • The mustard: I like to use Dijon, but you could use a grainy mustard.
  • The vinegar: Sherry vinegar is my go-to, although white wine and champagne vinegar are worthy substitutes.  
  • The oil: Extra virgin olive oil is traditional, while avocado oil will provide a very similar flavor.
  • The shallot: This ingredient gives the vinaigrette personality, but in a pinch, minced yellow onion or scallions (even the white part of a leek) could be used. 

How much vinaigrette should I use?

As a general rule, I use about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for every 3 cups of greens. This amount lightly coats the greens without weighing them down. With this in mind, one batch of the vinaigrette will be enough to dress two large or four smaller salads.

For prep-ahead convenience:

Add the recommended amount of this dressing to the bottom of your salad bowl and then top with the greens. Lightly cover and refrigerate, and wait to toss the salad until right before you serve it. This will prevent the greens from wilting.

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 

With a batch of this flavorful vinaigrette on hand, a simple salad can be ready in mere minutes–truly something to reach for every day. 

Everyday Shallot Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 12 minutes (includes 10 minute rest for shallots)
Total Time: 12 minutes
Yield: ½ cup
This versatile vinaigrette is punchy enough to make a winning salad out of greens alone yet welcoming to all sorts of mix-ins – tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese being two of my favorites. Plus it's quick to make with ingredients easily kept on hand.

As a general rule, I use about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for every 3 cups of greens. This amount lightly coats the greens without weighing them down. With this in mind, one batch of the vinaigrette will be enough to dress two large or four smaller salads.
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon – I often round the tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (7g) honey
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) sherry vinegar (may substitute white wine or champagne vinegar)
  • ¼ cup (56ml) good olive oil

 

Instructions

Place the minced shallot in the bottom of a salad bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour. (The salt mellows the sharpness of the shallot.)

Once the shallot has rested, add the Dijon, pepper, honey, and vinegar, and whisk to combine. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified. Alternatively, you may add everything to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to emulsify.

Storage: The vinaigrette can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Allow it to come to room temperature before using and shake or whisk before using.

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This vinaigrette was first posted with this Everyday Green Salad recipe and is lightly adapted from To the Last Bite, by Alexis deBoshnek. I tested recipes for Alexis while she was writing the cookbook and she graciously allowed me to share the recipe here. 

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