February 29, 2012



"The perfect vinaigrette is so easy to make that I see no reason whatsoever for bottled dressing." -- Julia Child.

It's the time of year I need such certainties. And color. Especially greens. Thanks to places like Future Farm and Dragsmith Farms, growers of organic lettuces and microgreens, in Wisconsin, I can have my local lettuce, and eat it too.

A pound of salad greens serves about 6 -- as much as a large head of Boston lettuce. They are so readily available, it's easy enough to buy them in bulk. Those closed prepackaged lettuces make me a little nervous. They may have spent several weeks out of the field -- in transit and back of a warehouse before they even get to the grocer's shelf and then to my crisper.

With good oil and nice vinegar a  really good salad dressing is so quick and easy to make. Keep in mind the proportions -- 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. BTW, the same as a good martini. It's all about balance, right?

Basic Vinaigrette
Makes about 1/2 cup

Vary the ingredients, playing with different oils and vinegars or substitute lemon or lime or orange juice for the vinegar, taste and adjust. Add fresh herbs just before using for the best flavor. They will not keep long after they're mixed into the vinaigrette.

1 small shallot, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar (or honey)
2 tablespoons vinegar (balsamic, champagne, red wine, apple cider, or lemon juice)
1/3 cup good cup good quality olive oil or sunflower oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake like mad. Taste, adjust the seasonings, adding more vinegar. 

This will keep, covered, for up to 3 days. 

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