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This simple vinaigrette harkens back to a late-seventeenth-century recipe by John Evelyn. Beginning with a “Sallet-Oyl” that is “smooth, light, and pleasant upon the tongue,” Evelyn went on to recommend the “best Wine Vinegar . . . the brightest Bay grey-Salt,” and all other ingredients of the finest quality, from sugar to mustard and other seasonings, and even notes the type of container in which the salad is to be served.

The following vinaigrette from E. Taylor’s The Lady’s, Housewife’s, and Cookmaid’s Assistant is delicious when drizzled over a variety of fresh salad greens. This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.


  • 2 large hardboiled egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 rounded teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil


1. With a fork, mash the egg yolks. Add the salt and mustard, stirring together until completely blended. Stir in the vinegar, mixing well.

2. Gradually add the olive oil, a small amount at a time, whisking continuously to emulsify the dressing.

3. Cover and refrigerate the dressing until ready to use. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.