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The Castello's House Vinaigrette (maybe the best vinaigrette recipe EVER)

This makes a pint and a half or so of vinaigrette - a perfect amount to always be ready when you are in the mood for a salad. Make different variations and flavors by simply taking the amount you need, then adding any variety of flavors. 
Add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs, or pesto, a little soy, and sesame oil. One of my favorites: pureè a quarter of a fresh mango and a little more dijon with shrimp or lobster. 
Having the base vinaigrette makes things fast, easy, and convenient. The base lasts up to 10 days without separating. It is still perfectly good when it separates -- bring it back to a creamy emulsion by blending again with the emersion blender and adding another teaspoon or so of dijon mustard.
One last note, I always add two kinds of acid because it makes a more complex vinaigrette and also lessens the bite a bit of red wine vinegar, which better helps you pair your salad with wine.
Author: Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio


  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar, yuzu, mirin, lemon or even orange juice
  • 1 shallot placed whole is fine (essential ingredient)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and maybe a splash more or less depending on your taste.)


  • Blend all ingredients together EXCEPT the olive oil until the shallots and garlic disappear. 
  • Next, add the oil in a slow and steady stream while the blender is going.
  • With the motor of the blender going slowly (about medium speed), stream in the oil. The emulsion will get quite thick and in order to add all the oil, you may have to turn off the blender to allow the emulsion to fall back on to the blades then turn it back on ON LOW. Then, continue adding the oil, turning up the speed.
  • Remember that it is better to taste the vinaigrette with a lettuce leaf to judge whether to add less or more oil.

Variation ideas:

  • Pesto
  • Mango mustard
  • Soy, green onion, and toasted sesame oil
  • Fresh herbs
  • Ceasar (anchovy, Worcestershire, and lemon zest)


Copyright Denise Pardini 2008 - 2020, hotelcastellodisinio.com