Tarragon Vinaigrette

Although this classic vinaigrette generally uses red or white vinegar, I like to use white balsamic vinegar for its sweetness and clear flavor.


1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 minced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1-2 tablespoons of tarragon, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar (if needed, to balance the flavor)
1 cup vegetable oil


Rub the dressing bowl with the garlic clove vigorously so you can see the garlic “oils” on the inside of the bowl.

Add the vinegar to the bowl, then add the shallots and allow to sit for 10 minutes while the flavors meld.

Add the mustard and stir with a whisk to combine. Add the tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Slowly, whisk in the oil in a slow steady stream to emulsify it. When all the oil is done and the dressing is thick, taste it and see if it needs sweetening for balance. If so, add a little sugar and taste after whisking in each addition.

Chef’s Notes:

  • If you wish, add all the ingredients but the oil into a blender and puree, then stream in the oil with the motor running. This will yield a stronger tarragon flavor, and will be darker in color and will not last as long, but it sure is quick.
  • Use this dressing on beets, for cold chicken salad, on grilled salmon or shrimp.
  • Excellent for mixed salad that has diced vegetables such as carrot, celery, and the like. Try using red or white wine vinegar, use a sweet-hot mustard or a coarse mustard.

YIELD: 1½ cups

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