lemon caper vinaigrette

capers, lemon, dijon and thyme

It’s amazing how attention to detail can make the simplest things so memorable. We were lucky enough to spend a few days in Paris on our honeymoon a few years ago. It was my first time in Paris, first time in Europe and the first time I was blown away by a salad dressing! Yes, a salad dressing.

lemon and thyme

I would still be raving about that lunch in Paris (well I guess technically I still am), but as it turns out delicious salad dressings can be concocted in seconds at home. While we can’t guarantee that this vinaigrette will transport you to a Parisian cafe, you may find your collection of store bought dressings sadly neglected. Here’s Tim with the recipe…

lemon caper vinaigrette ingredients

Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

1 lemon

2 tablespoons capers

olive oil

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

salt & pepper

thyme (optional)

Honestly, you can use this on anything. Salads of course, but you can dress your chicken after you roast it, or put it on some pan-seared prawns. It’s like a punch of sunshine right onto your food.

First, we zest the lemon. My wife bought me this gadget (I usually hate kitchen gadgets – I figure you should be able to make anything with a knife and a pan) and it is amazing for zesting. Maybe if I ask nicely, my wife will post a picture of it.

hand zester

Next, roughly chop up your capers. Juice the lemon into a suitable container. You will need to be able to fit a fork in for stirring (or use something with a lid & shake it). Ok, now you may be wondering why there are no measurements for the olive oil. The amount of olive oil is dependent on how much juice came out of that lemon of yours. (If you live anywhere like me, your lemon was picked about 4 months ago and most of the juice evaporated somewhere over Northern California.) Classic vinaigrettes will use the ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Don’t worry, this isn’t baking – just take a guess at roughly 3 times and aim low because you can always add a bit more oil. Ok, ok, you backed me into a corner – your lemon has exactly 2 tablespoons of juice. So use 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add your capers, lemon zest, dijon, salt and pepper. This is where you would add your thyme if you like things crazy – you could also add some basil or garlic or any herb you like. Now you stir as fast as you can (or shake!). That dijon should help the dressing come together or emulsify. Taste it! Too bitter? Add some olive oil or some honey (if you like it sweet).

Now that you know this 3 to 1 thing, try using red wine vinegar instead of the lemon for the acid, or go half lemon – half red wine vinegar. Endless dressing possibilities and you never have to use store bought again.

 lemon caper vinaigrette