Erik's secret salad dressing -- yummy balsamic vinaigrette

Delicious balsamic vinaigrette with a touch of garlic a secret recipe from Julia Child
Some people are hoarders of recipes. They keep them close to their chest like state secrets and pretend they don’t hear when you ask for a copy. To each his own, but I think sharing recipes, like sharing a meal, is another way that food brings people together. No matter the recipe, if it’s tied to someone you know then that’s who you think of when you prepare the food.

This Zipoli House dressing came out of one such recipe vault. When my brother lived in Boston, a colleague often served this as the “house” dressing. It’s delicious and although the ingredients seem simple enough, something about the proportions makes Zipoli House dressing especially good.

For a time it was practically famous in my family (and a bit of a family joke) because even my mom couldn’t get the recipe from its owner. He wouldn’t share the recipe but he was happy to share the story of how he was given it. Apparently the recipe came from Julia Child herself, which we have every reason to believe is true since he lived for a time in France and had the good fortune to dine chez Julia more than once.


We finally got hold of the recipe thanks to my brother’s quick thinking. You see, we have in my family a spectacular chocolate sauce recipe that came from my great aunt. We call it Ninnie’s chocolate sauce and there was a day when John of the secret salad dressing asked Erik for the chocolate sauce recipe. Erik proposed a swap and the Zipoli House dressing secret was released.

This is a robust dressing, great for any greens (John always added avocado to the salad). It’s tasty drizzled over roasted vegetables or tossed with cooked rice and vegetables for a cold salad. It’s dark in colour thanks to the Balsamic vinegar. If you prefer a lighter dressing swap the balsamic for cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. 

Zipoli House dressing


  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • Maple syrup to taste (start with ½ t)
  • 1 ½ t Dijon mustard
  • 5-6 T olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

Combine it all in a mason jar and give it a good shake.

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