Sousa Salad Dressing

I call this recipe “Aron’s dowry,” since my mate came with it and I so love it. When I met Aron, his family had remaining just a little bit of spectacular balsamic vinegar that Aron’s grandfather had made years before by accident. (He had meant to make wine.) It was unbelievable vinegar--so good that, I admit, I actually attempted to steal some of it from one of Aron’s aunts while helping her move. (Read more here.) Even using a vinegar inferior to Grandpa Bill’s, this is a great dressing.


  1. good quality olive oil

  2. good quality balsamic vinegar

  3. very fresh garlic, minced

  4. dijon mustard or grainy mustard (I prefer the latter)

  5. sugar

  6. kosher salt



Mix the ingredients very well, to taste. I recommend using roughly these quantities:

  1. 1/2 cup olive oil

  2. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  3. 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  4. 1.5 teaspoons grainy mustard

  5. 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, if the vinegar is not super sweet

  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt

After you mix all these up (in a blender, if you like), taste it and adjust it according to your taste. The best way to taste it is to stick a lettuce leaf in it and taste it that way.



  1. Wonderful on a spinach salad, or on a salad with some bitter greens. Even better if you add some fruit to the salad, e.g., pomegranate seeds or orange slices. I especially like it with a bit of chopped red onion in the salad.

  2. Fabulous drizzled over leftover meat that has been sliced thin and brought to room temperature. (Drizzled on leftover roast lamb or roast pork die for.)

  3. Plane food: Bring a little bit of this dressing in a small container (TSA has to see it in your quart-size plastic bag), and bring that leftover meat or some salami sliced thin. Also bring a bunch of fresh cherry tomatoes and some good bread, and one brightly colored dinner napkin or dishcloth to make yourself a nice placemat (and to assure that you have a place to wipe your fingers). Ask the attendant for a glass of red wine to go with your meal. Dunk the meat and tomatoes in the dressing, tear up the bread and eat it with it, and watch the person next to you turn green with envy. Best yet: come prepared to finish your meal with a fresh orange and some good dark chocolate. Delays? Who cares! (This is also good on Amtrak, where you can bring lots of dressing and your own wine.)

  4. Attract a mate who loves food enough to steal good ingredients from your family.


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