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Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

    Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette
    Butter Lettuce with Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

    The other day, I had lunch at The Left Bank in Larkspur, CA, and I had this lovely butter lettuce salad with a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette. The plate came with an entire head of butter lettuce and the vinaigrette was so smooth, I simply had to try to recreate it at home.

    I was lucky today because by chance, I already had shallots and fresh tarragon in the fridge and I remembered to pick up a head of butter lettuce on my way home from dropping off the kids at school. Lunch, here I come.

    When standing in front of my bottles of olive oil and vinegar, however, I thought, “I bet Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking has something to say about this.” Sure enough, a quick Google search yielded a guest post he wrote over at Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes. In that post, he actually provides three different vinaigrette recipes. I chose to make the tarragon-mustard vinaigrette because I hoped it would match what I had at The Left Bank.

    It almost did – definitely close enough for lunch at home. Just make sure to use the highest quality ingredients you can find and whip it up with full gusto.

    Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette
    adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s recipe

    2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
    1 Tbsp minced shallot
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    6 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

    In a tall bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking continuously to form an emulsion. Wait to stir in the tarragon just before serving.

    For more information about Michael Ruhlman and his amazing work on ratios, check out his iPhone app and watch this video that explains it.

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      9 replies on “Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette”

      The dressing in the restaurant is white and yours is not because of the sherry vinegar. The Chef at Left Bank confirmed it’s champagne vinegar instead of sherry. Also, it’s dry mustard and not Dijon, but it still doesn’t taste like the restaurant’s, so the recipe is still not found.


      I know (re: still not found)! As you can see from my post, I wrote, “I chose to make the tarragon-mustard vinaigrette because I hoped it would match what I had at The Left Bank. It almost did – definitely close enough for lunch at home.”

      Did you ask them what’s in it? Now that I have Champagne vinegar in my cupboard, I will definitely try it with that. I love Dijon mustard too much to take that back out, though. Thanks for the feedback.

      Yes, I appreciate you were trying to make a similar dressing. The discussion didn’t go beyond what’s the vinegar. I was given a small container of dressing to bring home. Tasting it alone made me think “egg” or that it had a slightly sweet mayo base (maybe Hellman’s?), not olive oil and the texture gave away the dry mustard content. I’m assigned this salad to bring to our Gourmet Dinner Club dinner this Saturday and will let you know what I finally create.

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