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April 23, 2010
If I had waited for daylight, this picture would have been better, but my salad would have gone naked. Besides, even a good picture of a mustard jar isn't much, but what's in this jar is one of my favorite little things: vinaigrette made from the last bit of mustard that sticks to the bottom of the jar, the bit you can't even get out with that small silicone scraping spatula, the odd-shaped one you bought for just this job.
My husband always laughs when he comes into the kitchen and sees me peering into the jar, eyeballing the remains and deciding whether or not it's time to turn it into dressing, because he knows I get such a kick out of it. There's something about salvaging that recalcitrant spoonful that makes me happy. It's a little like scraping the bowl a la Julia.
I'm a fan of mustardy vinaigrette. I like it for chopped salads that have a lot of ingredients (like my tuna and chickpea salad); salads made with big-flavored bitter greens, like frisee and endive; and salads made with hefty leftovers (like my favorite beef and caper salad).
My house mustard for vinaigrettes is imported-from-France Dijon mustard, which is smooth and creamy, sharp and wollopy in large doses. And while I usually measure out the mustard for a vinaigrette -- I normally start with a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard to 1 tablespoon wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and then I taste and, depending on my salad (and my mood), I'll add a little more mustard or a little more vinegar (I rarely want more oil) -- when there's just a smidgen of mustard left in the jar, I build my vinaigrette in it.
Of course you've got to guess how much mustard you've got, so I start with the regular proportions and then keep going, usually making enough to fill the jar. Shake, shake, taste, taste, adjust, adjust and I've not only got enough vinaigrette for the week, I've got the satisfaction of having been thrifty.
Of course I could have made a week's worth of vinaigrette in any old empty jar and wouldn't have had to wait for the mustard to be almost finished, but for reasons unfathomable, I don't. I make a just-enough-for-the-salad vinaigrette every day and then, when the mustard's gone, I make a filler-up batch. It's a silly ritual that's become another little kitchen pleasure.
Tags: Dijon mustard
, Julia Child
In the Kitchen
Salads & Sides
| April 23, 2010 10:31 AM
That is such a great idea! It sounds delicious too. I can't wait to try it!
| April 23, 2010 10:45 AM
This is a wonderful idea! Now I can't wait for my Dijon jar to become almost empty!
My Mom used to make her potato salad dressing in the mayo jar. I thought we could only have potato salad when the mayo was almost gone!
| April 23, 2010 10:48 AM
This is one of my favorite tricks to avoid waste in the kitchen! I also love it because after it is easier to clean for recycling.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
| April 23, 2010 11:10 AM
Not silly at all -- it's charming, and very French! I'm going to co-opt your ritual in my own kitchen, and now I'm off to check how much mustard is left in the jar!
| April 23, 2010 1:07 PM
I have been making dressing from the dregs with domestic Dijon (an oxymoron?) for decades. And I too, fill up the jar for the next week. Last night we enjoyed some leftover stuffed flank steak with asparagus over greens, drizzled with tarragon flavored vinaigrette. Such an elegant way to "re-serve" a meal!
Katie @ Cozydelicious
| April 23, 2010 3:20 PM
My mother taught me to do this! Her fridge (and mine) is always stocked with a jar of dressing. This vinagrette is one of the very few things that my mom actually 'cooks'. I love it! My husband makes fun of me because I will find every possible reason to use the mustard until I get down to the bottom and make vinagrette.
| April 23, 2010 4:53 PM
Brilliant, Dorie! And I just happen to have a near-empty jar of Maille...
I share your love of mustardy vinaigrettes, so you might like my house dressing (via Michael Lomonaco):
| April 23, 2010 5:15 PM
Awesome! I love little things like that.
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| April 23, 2010 6:28 PM
you'll never guess what i had for dinner tonight... a tuna and chickpea salad (love chickpeas) ! with a quick throw together dressing of mostly mustard, a touch of oil, a touch of fleur de sel. et voila. my argan oil from morocco is long gone, but that would be my 2nd choice. i'm a daily vinaigrette maker too and a definite maille shaker !
reminds me of when la belle-mere was visiting, she made a huge bowl of her "fameuse sauce" for me and i was set for a few weeks thereafter.
on the topic, francis lam did a real thorough piece on vinaigrette recently: http://www.salon.com/food/francis_lam/2010/04/16/how_to_make_vinaigrette
| April 23, 2010 7:27 PM
I love this kind of thinking.
| April 23, 2010 10:30 PM
I just made vinaigrette in my nearly-empty mustard jar! The tarragon is growing well in the garden, so I added a handful of chopped leaves. Yum!
| April 24, 2010 7:44 AM
There must be something in the air. I just made this last night and only saw your post this morning. It even works in those upside-down plastic squeeze bottles, which are even more vexing than the glass bottles to empty otherwise. I don't have your patience, though. I usually end up making enough for several salads out of sheer eagerness.
| April 25, 2010 1:27 AM
you are all making me very hungry and I have been delinquent in my shopping...this will horrify some, but I keep a jar of powdered mustard because I love the taste and often forget about it until my salad is done, so I sprinkle some in and toss again...but I do this exact empty jar thing when I have mayonaise in the house and get to the end of it. Heaven forbid I waste a calorie of Mayo.
| April 25, 2010 1:34 AM
The joy you find in simple things, like using the dregs of mustard to create vinaigrette, is very inspiring. Thank you!
| April 26, 2010 11:11 AM
I do this all the time!!! My mom taught me to do it, and I continue the tradition, it's nice to see that someone else is sharing the love of their dijon, right to the last drop! And bonus: you don't need anything to whisk it, you just shake :)
| April 26, 2010 11:12 AM
I do this all the time. I buy Grey Poupon Dijon mustard in the squeeze bottles. When I can't squeeze any more out, I add some vinegar (whatever I have on hand), a little chopped garlic, whatever strikes my fancy at the time. It's a great way to use that last little bit of mustard and make a yummy, healthy dressing.
| April 26, 2010 11:13 AM
What a wonderful idea!! I never thought of using the bottom of the bottle....great. Now, I cant' wait to eat salad tonight.
| April 26, 2010 11:14 AM
haha! i always do this before recycling the jar, too...never let anythign go to waste. and it makes the most delicious vinaigrette!
| April 26, 2010 11:21 AM
I think I'm a pretty good cook but I've got gaps in what I know, and this is the one I've been dying to fill in! Bless you, the perfect mustard vinaigrette! I'm serving salad for dinner so I can try it. Love your blog, your style, the way you let your personality show through in your blog and on the radio.Keep it up!
| April 26, 2010 11:23 AM
Hi Dorie, long time no read. I've been busy packing up my life and moving it North. Making a tasty vinaigrette from the scrapings in my mustard jars is something I have long done. Like Vera, I also do the same with my mayonnaise jars. My mom always did this also. We never ever had bottled store bought salad dressing in our home when I was growing up and I have carried on the tradition!
| April 26, 2010 11:31 AM
I learned this from my Aunt who makes the most wonderful salads. She has several jars going at once in the frige - the "empty" mustard jar, the "empty" pickle jar, the "empty" pepperoncini jar - each a unique dressing. Nothing goes to waste!
| April 26, 2010 11:46 AM
I love knowing that someone else does this too, especially someone I admire so much! Real little bits of personality from your kitchen are the best -- please keep them coming.
| April 26, 2010 11:51 AM
An almost empty honey jar works nicely too!
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme
| April 26, 2010 11:54 AM
Isn't a mustardy vinaigrette a perfect joy whether made in the nearly empty jar or in daily portions? And, as you say, best enjoyed with strongly flavored greens. Your beautiful post reminded me that I haven't enjoyed this combination in far too long. Off to the kitchen now to remedy that.
| April 26, 2010 12:11 PM
Funny, I do this too! A great way not to waste a drop!
heather @ chiknpastry
| April 26, 2010 12:18 PM
I love the idea, and I do it often too as my husband rolls his eyes. but you're right - that bottom of the bottle mustard vinaigrette is probably one of the best!
| April 26, 2010 1:10 PM
Last night I threw the jar in the dish washer... I hate myself!
| April 26, 2010 2:31 PM
You can also make a terrific ham glaze with what is left in the bottom of a jar of honey, jam, or sweet preserves. Just mix in some mustard and your choice of wine or beer to taste, and pour it over the ham in your baking dish. Good every time.
| April 26, 2010 2:34 PM
Hilarious. I've been doing this for years and friends always thought I was slightly mental. :) I've forwarded this along to them... hoping to receive apologies! :) Ah, the sweet feeling of validation... Thanks, Dorie!
| April 26, 2010 2:52 PM
how strange this is~ although I shouldn't I am sitting in front of the computer eating a salad (radishes, avocado, celery, organic greens, apple, dried currants and a few cashews) made from ~ last of the bottle mustard vinaigrette! Reading through my emails, I eagerly open your latest blog entry, and geez louise, there is my vinaigrette... that I just made a few minutes ago!... except mine's a little darker because I also used up the last balsamic.
| April 26, 2010 3:02 PM
I always do the same thing (and prefer the same brand of Dijon mustard). Smart idea to write about it! It's often the small details of life that strike a chord with readers.
| April 26, 2010 5:24 PM
I have to say that I finally made your cornbread recipe from the previous post. It was divine! I'm a Southerner but I actually like the sweet Yankee-style cornbread. Your recipe was the perfect marriage of the two for me--just a little sweet, but still authentic. I've heard real Southerners don't use flour at all...I can't imagine that.
| April 26, 2010 7:51 PM
This is a delightful ritual! It's so cute your husband is amused. I love this brand of mustard. I got in on sale never guessing it was worth full price.
| April 26, 2010 8:28 PM
I love this ritual and the proportions. It all makes me smile. Hope it will make you smile since I'm going to adopt it myself.
| April 26, 2010 9:53 PM
I recommend walnut oil, sherry vinegar, and some chopped shallot--in the mustard jar, of course. In my refrigerator right now.
Couscous & Consciousness
| April 27, 2010 3:17 AM
What a positively brilliant idea. I always make my vinaigrette on a "just-enough-for-the-salad" basis, and always in a little jar, which is often a washed out empty mustard jar, but I never ever thought of making it in the dregs of the mustard jar - duh!! Thanks for sharing such a great idea - aren't the simplest ones always the best.
| April 27, 2010 8:42 AM
not a bad idea, I always try to use my fingers, but it can be painful :)
| April 27, 2010 6:07 PM
I,too, am a scraper, wiper out with a finger, use it 'til it's all gone sort of person....definitely of the Southern sort and - even if it's Dorie who is suggesting it - refuse to add flour or sugar to my cornbread (if I'm looking for cake or muffins that's what I'll make, thank you very much). It doesn't get any better than made with buttermilk - a hot and savory, succulent Southern piece of perfection. I WILL, however, use my best mustard jar to shake up a good dressing. Thanks, Dorie!
| April 28, 2010 1:23 PM
I love the idea of not wasting. Such a great idea I never thought of. Thanks:)
| May 1, 2010 10:24 PM
It's not a silly ritual at all, of course. It reminds me of what I do with my bouillon jar, hoping that I'll have just enough for whatever I'm cooking.
I'm loving Catherine's idea above and will look forward to the dregs in my dijon jar :)
| May 3, 2010 6:50 AM
I do the same thing with jam. Creates a delicious sweetly tangy vinaigrette.
| May 4, 2010 6:33 PM
Ah, another Maille user-upper. It works so perfectly, then the jar is washed and used for bright summer jams...
| May 6, 2010 5:03 PM
I just know there are nearly empty jars of all sorts of things being made into vinigrette all over the world since your post.
J.M. Hirsch - I like the idea of jam jar vinaigrette too.
| June 11, 2010 11:26 PM
I did this a few nights ago and will from now on eagerly await the dregs of my mustard jars. A great trick, thanks!
| June 22, 2010 6:58 PM
I too convert the end of the dijon jar for a quick vinaigrette...so simple and emulsifies perfectly. I add a little minced shallot and a few chopped sprigs of whatever herb strikes my fancy that day...Tarragon, Dill, Thyme, Rosemary, etc
Every time I make it I wonder why I don't use this shake method all the time instead of dragging out the whisk several times a week....habit I guess.
| August 26, 2010 5:50 AM
I love to use the end of my mustard to make vinaigrette. Less to clean up and you can shake, shake, and shake. I try to keep an empty jar in the cupboard just for that very purpose.
It is amazing to me, I live in the south of France(Cannes), to see how inexpensive Maille is here. Not to mention the cheese & wine!
| March 20, 2011 12:30 PM
While I understand people going for Dijon Mustard, personally I prefer a mustard with a more powerful bite, something that is more an assault on on both the mouth and nose. something that gives cullinary kick up the backside! So I love English mustard. Not only does it bring its own unique taste, but as you are eating it will suddenly hit the nasal passages, causing your eyes to water. Simply wonderful. Knocks spots of the milder mustards. Probably a bit of an acquired taste, but the Brits (and me) love it.
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