With bright, fresh flavor, this Lemon Dill Dressing is super easy to throw together and is delicious on greens and veggies as well as chicken, fish and shrimp!
Summer has unofficially arrived, with lots of hot, sunny days in the forecast here in North Carolina. We’ve been embracing the warm weather, with early morning walks, bike rides and dips in the cool lake, whenever possible. We’re also enjoying lots of light, lean meals from the grill and an array of salads drizzled with this delicious Lemon Dill Dressing.
The dressing’s super easy to make, with just a few everyday ingredients. It’s not a throw-everything-in-the-jar-and-shake number, but almost as simple. You want to thoroughly mix the Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice and garlic together before adding the oil because otherwise the dressing can separate a bit. That’s the only trick for this bright, flavor-filled dressing.
This Lemon Dill Dressing is so versatile and wonderful with lots of different types of greens, veggies and entrees. I served it last weekend for the family, drizzled over an Arugula Salmon Salad with Israeli Couscous. Be on the lookout, as I’ll be sharing that easy summer salad in our next post. The dressing’s perfect with fish, but also pairs wonderfully with grilled or roasted chicken and shrimp.
One ingredient you might not have in your pantry or refrigerator is fresh dill. Don’t try to substitute the dry version, as it just won’t be the same. The combination of fresh dill and lemon is such an amazingly fresh burst of summery flavor.
What’s a good quality Dijon mustard?
You’ll also want a good quality Dijon mustard. What makes a mustard Dijon? And what’s a “good quality Dijon”? So glad you asked!
Dijon mustard is named after the town of Dijon, in the Burgundy region of France. The area around Dijon has been a center of mustard making since the early Middle Ages. Dijon mustard traditionally consists of mustard seeds, white wine and spices. It has a tangy, more robust flavor than it’s milder, yellow mustard cousin. The spicier flavor of Dijon comes from the brown and/or black mustard seeds that are used to make it. Yellow mustard seeds are much milder in flavor.
According to reviews from Cooking Light, Saveur, Serious Eats and Cooks Illustrated, some of the best Dijons in the world are Grey Poupon, Edmond Fallot (Thomas Keller’s top pick) Maille, Amora (favorite mustard of David Lebovitz) and Pommery Meaux. Each one has different flavor characteristics, so you might want to try a few and then pick your own favorite. I personally love Maille. If you can find Maille mustard that’s made in France, it’s especially delicious. I used to stock up when visiting my daughter in London, but have recently discovered the French version on Amazon!
I’ve found that generic, grocery store brand Dijon mustards generally don’t have great flavor. The one exception is Trader Joe’s Dijon. It’s actually made by a mustard maker (moutardier) right outside the city of Dijon in France. The TJ’s mustard is made with brown mustard grains, which are left whole, rather than ground up, giving the mustard a nice texture and a bold flavor. It’s delicious and very reasonably priced.
Why not olive oil?
When you read the recipe, you’ll see that it calls for sunflower (or any other mild tasting) oil. You might be wondering, why not olive oil? If you’re a regular Café follower, you know that I love olive oil and use it in lots of recipes. I found that in this recipe however, it seemed to fight with the lemon and Dijon flavors. If you have a very mild flavored olive oil, it will be fine. Otherwise stick with sunflower, safflower avocado, grapeseed or your favorite mild flavored oil.
So there you have it; a delightful salad dressing to get you through the hot months ahead. Keep a jar stashed in the refrigerator and fresh, light dinners will be easy to prepare and enjoy all summer long!
P.S. I think you’ll love the Israeli Couscous Salmon Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing that we’ll be sharing in our next post as much as my family has. Delicious served warm or at room temp, it pairs perfectly with this Lemon Dill Dressing and is wonderful for picnic lunches or casual dinners. Make a double batch of dressing and you’ll be all set for it!
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 medium clove garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepepr
- ½ cup sunflower oil or other mild flavored oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper until completely blended.
Add oil in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously until thick and creamy. Add dill and stir well.
Refrigerate until ready to use.