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One of the treasures of summer and fall in the Hudson Valley is the array of farmers markets that dot the landscape. On Sundays, Brian and I go to Rhinebeck for their very upscale market. It is smallish, perhaps 25 vendors, but they offer incredible quality. Last Sunday one vendor had bags of wonderful mixed greens. It was salad ready to go.

For our exceptional greens, we wanted an exceptional dressing. Something beyond a simple vinaigrette. Something special that would be appropriate for the dozen flavors we had secured in Rhinebeck. We did some research in our cookbooks, and found this dressing, which was a favorite of patrons of the now-closed Lutece restaurant in New York City.

This thick dressing has a soft yellow color. It provides flavor that complements rather than over powers the greens. The recipe calls for Melfor vinegar if possible. Melfor is Alsatian honey-based vinegar and it just may not be present on your pantry shelf. We used the suggested alternative of tarragon vinegar with those teaspoons of honey.

A key feature of this recipe is the proportion of olive and peanut oils. It might seem heretical, but Chef Andre Soltner was not a fan of olive oil. Using peanut oil here contributes to the viscosity of the dressing.

Now that we’ve sampled this dressing, we can understand why it such a long time favorite at Lutece. If you try it, you’re likely to have it on your “short list” of “old reliable,” too.

André Soltner’s Lutece Vinaigrette

Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Melfor vinegar or tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup peanut oil


In a small bowl, crush the chopped onion to a puree with a fork. Add the mustard, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Whisk until the ingredient bind. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and the peanut oil until the ingredients are emulsified, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour over a salad, toss to coat thoroughly, and serve immediately.

Source: Perfect Vinaigrettes by Linda Dannenberg