Servings: Makes 1 1/3 cups dressing
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallots, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil.
Variations on a Theme
Artichoke: Add a fresh artichoke heart or 2 canned artichoke hearts (about 3 ounces), and replace vinegar with 1/4 cup lemon juice; puree in a blender until creamy. Serve on frisée lettuce, or use as a glaze for fish by basting during and after grilling.
Tomato: Add 2 Tbsp. tomato juice and a dash of Tabasco. Serve on Israeli-style chopped salad: Cube tomatoes, cucumbers and red bell peppers, and mix with diced onions. Scoop onto a romaine lettuce leaf; garnish with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Honey: Add 2 tsp. honey. Serve on hearty winter greens like escarole, or use dressing as a glaze for pork or poultry while it cooks on the grill.
Cheese: Add 2 ounces or more Stilton cheese and puree in a blender. Serve on a salad of frisée, mixed greens, radicchio, endive and arugula, topped with sliced pears and toasted walnuts.
Citrus: Add 1 tsp. orange zest and 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice (or substitute lime or grapefruit). Stir in 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Serve on poached or grilled fish such as salmon, cod or sea bass.
Herb: Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley, tarragon, mint, basil or chives. Serve on a salad of shrimp, haricots verts and mushrooms, or combine with a mix of cherry tomatoes and scallions. Dressing can also be used to baste grilled shrimp.
Walnut: Replace 1/2 cup olive oil with walnut oil. Serve on a salad of baby arugula, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese. Note: Because some people have severe allergies to nuts, always let your guests know you are serving a nut oil.
Truffle: Replace olive oil with 1/4 cup truffle oil and 3/4 cup vegetable oil. Serve on a delicate salad of butter lettuce leaves or mâche topped with a slice of foie gras and dried fruit, such as figs. This also goes wonderfully over steamed asparagus or baby potatoes, sliced toasted almonds, and haricots verts or peas.
From the January 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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