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In the garden, columbine, or aquilegia in bloom.


Alice Waters stresses this sauce should be made with good olive oil and good wine vinegar. This, "the best salad dressing [she] can imagine," is made in a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 or 4 parts oil. Note that a quarter cup of this vinaigrette is enough for four servings of green salad. So guesstimate how much you will need, before you begin. "When you add just enough salt, it subdues the acid of the vinegar and brings it into a wonderful balance. Try adding salt bit by bit and tasting to see what happens."
Course Sauces/Salad Dressing
Cuisine American
Servings 1 /4 Cup
Author from The Art of Simple Foods by Alice Waters


  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Pour the red wine vinegar into a small bowl. Add the salt and ground pepper. Stir to dissolve the salt, taste and adjust. Use a fork or small whisk to beat in, a little at a time, the olive oil. "Taste as you go and stop when it tastes right."
  2. Variations:
  3. Add a little pureed garlic or diced shallot, or both to the vinegar
  4. White wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or lemon juice can replace some or all of the red wine vinegar.
  5. Beat in a little mustard before you start adding the oil.
  6. For part of the olive oil, substitute a very fresh nut oil, such as walnut or hazelnut.
  7. Heavy cream or creme fraiche can replace some or all of the olive oil.
  8. Chop some fresh herbs and stir them into the finished vinaigrette.