Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Will Get You Hooked on Salads

Once upon a time, about 8 years ago, hubby & I hosted friends from the south of France for about 2 weeks.  It was an older, very chic couple we'd visited several times and we were excited to finally have them visiting us.
Here they are goofing around at the Comstock Covered Bridge


While they were here, Marie taught me what she called a basic dressing for salads.  Let me tell you, there is nothing basic about it.  It officially ruined any bottled dressing for me.

Over the years it has evolved as I've experimented with the ingredients, but here's the current version I make, and the one that is requested by pretty much everyone who has ever tried it.  I serve it on green salads especially arugula, spinach or watercress, as well as over cold pasta salads.  I use a scaled down simpler version on potato salad too.  I'm sorry to say I generally don't use precise measurements - it's more of a feel of what's right by personal taste and experience.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup or less of Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
Few squeezes of agave nectar (or honey)
1 large garlic clove, pressed and/or small shallot minced
1/4 or more tsp of dijon mustard
palm of hand measurement of herbes de provence
squeezes of fresh lemon juice - maybe a quarter of a lemon or more to taste - I've used orange in a pinch
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
(sometimes I throw in a splash of white wine if I happen to be drinking some while I'm making dinner)

whisk it all together

That's pretty much it.  When I make it with a spinach & goat cheese salad I use balsamic vinegar.  I cut back on the vinegar when I make it with potato salad and add a little more lemon for freshness & a little bit of mayonnaise or sour cream.  With pasta salad I've been known to add capers and chopped sun dried tomatoes.  It's a really versatile dressing (last night I poured the left over dressing from this weekend into a linguine dish with pancetta, olives, basil & tomatoes!) and it so good I always sop up the extra with baguette.

Merci Marie for sharing the love.  Now I share it with all of you.  Bon Appétit mes amis!

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