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Friday, March 29, 2013

Make Homemade Vinaigrette

Salad + me.  Something like this:

Childhood -- iceberg lettuce, chopped carrots, quartered tomatoes (maybe even chopped celery?), drizzled with Kraft's Catalina dressing.

College -- more iceberg lettuce (with perhaps a bit of romaine?), broccoli florets, chopped hard-boiled egg, sunflower seeds, chinese noodles (you know, those deep fried things), and grated carrot, bathed in Ranch dressing.

Adulthood --  Caesar salad.

Parenthood -- more Caesar salad.  Really ready for something different...

So I've recently figured out how easy it is to whisk up a freshly made-to-order vinaigrette dressing and then toss it with some spring mix or whatever greens I have on hand.  I'm probably the last person on this green earth to figure this out, but I do tend to run about 10 years behind, so it's to be expected.

Anyways, here's how simple it is:

(Recipe found in Melissa d'Arabian's Ten Dollar Dinners and online here as Cafe Green Salad).
Serves 4 for small side-salad or 2 if you are serving just this plus a meat or fish.

You'll need:

  • peeled clove of garlic, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 T red wine or balsamic vinegar (if you double the recipe and have both, use 1T of each)
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • pinch kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 T olive oil
Take the peeled garlic clove and rub the cut side all  over the bottom of a wooden salad bowl.  Discard the clove.  Plop the mustard into the bowl.  Whisk in the vinegar(s), soy sauce, salt, and pepper until you have a blended, creamy mixture.  Then pour the olive oil sloooowly into the bowl, whisking all along, until you have a lovely dressing like so.  It'll take just a few minutes to do this, especially once you've done it a couple of times and it's so good!

I've found the best thing is that you can actually just let this sit until you are ready to serve the salad -- put handfuls of greens on top of the dressing when you're ready and toss away.  The bowl you see in this photo could be pretty much filled with salad and then tossed.  As I said, this will serve about 4 for side salads or 2 people who are hungry and are eating just this and a fish or meat portion.

You can serve the salad just as is, simple and fresh, or you can add any of the following optional ingredients, whatever you like!

Optional but extra yummy additions -- sliced or chopped avocado, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, toasted pine nuts.