All the Jean’s I know make the best salad dressing.  Chef Jean Pierre Vuillermet at Union League Café and Chef Jean-Claude Szurdak, Jacques Pepin’s childhood friend,  among them.  They get the salt just right, a generous amount but not too much.  The same thing is true with how much dressing to use.  Not too much. Toss well. For me, Salad Season = Mustard Vinaigrette.

Salad Chester Sunday Market


Here’s my entry into the salad dressing collection. This mustard vinaigrette has a generous amount of Dijon mustard. Make sure your jar of mustard is fresh and imported; stale mustard looses its punch. The French make the best mustard. We make our own red wine vinegar from leftover wine. It tends to have more flavor and less acidity than commercially-made vinegar. Balance the amount of oil you add according to the acidity in the vinegar you use.  I prefer my salad to be dressed lightly with the bracing taste of garlic, vinegar and salt.

Tomatoes Summer 2015

Master this one dressing and you’ll ace summer salads. We served a version of this at Restaurant du Village. The signature in what we served at our restaurant was a healthy dose of dried tarragon.

Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

Yield: Approxiately 1 cup


1 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2/3 cup olive or vegetable oil or a combination of the two


  1. Combine the mustard, salt and pepper, stirring until the salt dissolves.
  2. Add the garlic and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine or simply mix with a fork.
  3. Add the oil. Whisk vigorously until the mixture emulsifies. Serve immediately. If you serve it later, whisk again to recombine the ingredients.


Use fresh Dijon mustard that has not lost its punch. And the best quality red wine vinegar. We make our from leftover bottles of red wine.