The Go-To Vinaigrette That Julia Child Swore By

When it comes time to whip up a vinaigrette for your favorite salad, Julia Child's recipe for her French version of this dressing gets high marks. Child was not a fan of store-bought dressing because she could easily make it herself and so can you. But what is it about Child's recipe that sets it apart from other vinaigrettes, making it a go-to for both seasoned cooks and amateur chefs alike? It's all about the oil and vinegar. 

The American chef's version shuns the typical three parts oil and one part vinegar that your everyday run-of-the-mill vinaigrette uses. Instead, she opts for a ratio of one part vinegar and lemon juice to between six and eight parts oil. Child's proportions, which are heavier on the oil than the acid, are going to produce a mellow tasting mixture that will not overpower your salad greens. But it is also this ratio base that allows you to riff on it and explore your culinary creativity. You can easily customize this dressing to give it a tangier punch with some additional lemon juice or vinegar if desired or add herbs and seasonings that please your palate. 

Not just for salad

It is mind-freeing to come to the conclusion that the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice are just the foundational canvas for this vinaigrette. Julia Child's directions can also be supplemented with mustard, salt and pepper, and minced shallots to really turn up the flavor for your taste buds — all while creating a creamy consistency that is perfect to coat all your lovely veggies and greens with. This vinaigrette is also fun to make. What you will love about this recipe is that it really just requires the ability to measure ingredients with a little precision and an arm for shaking or whisking depending on your mixing preference.

Of course, this vinaigrette is not just for your salad. Its flavor profile makes it so versatile it has a place well beyond. You can use it to marinate meats like chicken or as a sauce to drizzle over grilled vegetables and fish. Make it ahead for workweek lunches when you are longing for crisp leaves and store it in the fridge for up to three days.