This is an everyday salad at Chez Gypsy. A staple of French country cooking, Tomato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette is the perfect cold side on a hot summer day.
Cooking on long, hot days of summer. Ripe produce. Gardens blooming and booming. Tomato plants loaded with juicy, ripe tomatoes. All you need is a sexy little vinaigrette, a couple of thinly sliced shallots and you’re set.
Mustard Vinaigrette, make with Dijon mustard, is our go-to vinaigrette and a standard in the kitchens of France. THIS IS FRENCH SALAD DRESSING. God knows why that orange stuff is you see on the shelves of North American grocery stores is labeled French Dressing, it’s certainly not what the French call salad dressing.
Will The REAL French Dressing Please Stand Up?
The recipe for bottled North American French Dressing originated in the 50’s using paprika and tomato to colour it orange. The French don’t do bright orange dressing, ever. Let’s compare shall we? French Dressing, North American style (orange dressing pictured here) and Salad Dressing from France (shot at my Mother-in-law’s table, in the heart of Burgundy, France). They think I’m a bit odd in France, taking pictures of salad dressing. Trust me on this.
Notice the difference of colour? A nice, creamy yellow verses jail-jumpsuit-orange, and that’s nothing in comparison to the difference in taste. The artificial day-glow orange dressing is sweet, while real French ‘Sauce Salade’ is sharp and tangy, with a mustard base.
But, I digress. Where was I?! Aha yes, tasty tomatoes on the long, dog days of summer. Add a bed of lettuce if you like. Pair with grilled chicken, slices of cold ham, burgers of any description or a nice, juicy steak for an easy meal on a hot day.
Gypsy Tip: Mustard is a natural emulsifier, it helps to bind the oil and vinegar in your vinaigrette into a smooth, creamy consistency. Anytime you’re having trouble with a savory vinaigrette splitting, add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the mix. Works every time.
A staple of French country cooking, Tomato Salad with a classic Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette. The perfect cold side on a hot summer day.
3 – 6 ripe, fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, smooth
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 medium shallots, 1 finely diced, 1 thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 stems of parsley, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
In a medium bowl combine minced shallots, garlic, red wine and mustard. Whisk to combine. Now slowly incorporate your oil, whisking briskly as you go until Dijon vinaigrette is smooth and opaque, not runny, broken and loose. Season to taste, reserve cold until ready to serve. Or, add ingredients to a good sized measuring cup and zip it with your immersion blender until creamy, about on minute. Add parsley and stir to combine, just before serving.
Toss tomatoes and thinly sliced shallots with vinaigrette, or simply arrange tomatoes on a platter and drizzle with Dijon Vinaigrette, reserving the remainder for the table.
No grainy Dijon mustard in the house? No biggie, just use smooth. I love the little mustard seeds for a bit of added texture, but don’t rush out and buy it just for a teaspoon in a recipe. Smooth will do.
Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.