Perfect Green Salad Vinaigrette


Happy 21st, blog-post that is (birthday….I wish!!!  it’s dawning on me that I’m closer to 60 than to 21!!!  argh!!!).  Would have made more sense to celebrate my 20th blog post earlier this week, nice even number that it is, but I didn’t realize it was my big 2-0 until post-post.  So we’ll celebrate my 21st.

I’ve learned so much since starting this blog in September and it’s been such fun developing the recipes and hearing your comments.  Please keep them coming!  The most popular recipes thus far have been Chicken Mole Enchiladas and Barbecue Roasted Salmon, two dinner favorites.  Not surprising as so many home cooks, including myself, are always on the look-out for a new addition to their nightly meal repertoire.

Today’s post won’t pack the punch of an amazing new weeknight meal that’ll knock the family’s socks off.  No, this post is about a consistent, stable workhorse recipe that you can use night after night, dinner after dinner.

We’re going to talk salad.

Before you reach for the Kraft or whatever is your store-bought dressing of choice, hear me out.  Once you try homemade salad dressing, whether it be this delicious creamy, mustardy vinaigrette or just a quick toss of olive oil and balsamic, you will never want the store-bought stuff again.  I switched to homemade mainly for taste but also for cost because the really good dressings were quite expensive and I knew I could easily make something equally as good, or better, for a fraction of the price.  Not to totally dog on store-bought – there are some that are decent – but in general I find them downright inedible, chemical-laden gloop.  And I want my salad to taste more than decent.

Use your best extra-virgin olive oil and best quality white vinegar for this (and for all your homemade dressings).  If you aren’t comfortable with the raw egg, leave it out.  However the yolk adds a rich, creaminess to the dressing that you’ll definitely miss, similar to their effect in a Caesar dressing.  Then it’s just a tad of mustard and raw garlic (or shallots) for some kick and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Toss the vinaigrette with arugula (rocket in the UK) and shaved parmesan.  That’s it.  Don’t be tempted to add tomatoes, carrots or whatever else you typically put on your salad.  Practice restraint.  I promise you will be blown away by how simple ingredients can be transformed into something so delicious.  Ok, maybe not blown away, but I can guarantee a truly delectable salad.  The kind that makes you want to have seconds – and I don’t go for salad seconds very often, so that’s saying something.

Perfect Green Vinaigrette (4-6 servings )

Note: If you are entertaining and want to prepare as much ahead of time as possible, place the vinaigrette in the bottom of the salad bowl, top with greens and let sit in the refrigerator until about 10 minutes prior to serving.  Toss and serve.  Also beautiful when tossed with steamed, new potatoes or braised leeks.

1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic or shallot

1 egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup (50 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil.  Once ingredients are combined, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuously whisking.  Toss with greens.  Refrigerate any extra for up to two days, bringing to room temperature before tossing with greens.

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris

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