My “Secret” Balsamic Salad Dressing

Every time we entertain (translate: never) or we’re invited to someone’s home for dinner, I always bring a salad with balsamic dressing. People love this dressing and insist on the recipe.

Here’s the secret. … Are you ready?

There’s really no secret to this dressing. It’s loosely based off Ina Garten’s balsamic dressing, and it’s so simple and easy.

So for the first time in print, I am giving out my “secret” balsamic salad dressing. Before I go any further, I must warn you that I never measure these ingredients. These are approximations. But just try it and you’ll be able to quickly adjust your ingredient measurements.

Make it now – people will go crazy!

Balsamic Salad Dressing

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (I tend to use the grain grain mustard)

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (I use Costco’s Kirkland variety)

Pinch of salt (Kosher) and pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (again, Costco Kirkland)

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk together the mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Ina uses a lot of olive oil; I don’t use as much as her.

Taste the dressing with a lettuce leaf (that’s the only way to truly taste a salad dressing). If it’s too bitter, add some more olive oil or mustard. Really — it’s that simple!

Then layer the lettuce on top with your favorite salad fixings. I like to add tomatoes, cucumber and avocados. Toss the salad together when you’re ready to eat.

Here’s a little trick (courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa herself): You can make the salad in advance as long as the dressing is at the bottom and the lettuce and everything is not tossed together yet. So leave it in the fridge and then toss it before you eat. I do this every time we bring it to someone’s house. Hosts think it’s magic. Isn’t Ina smart?!

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