Bottom of the Bottle Mustard Vinaigrette

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.

Dorie Greenspan