Best dressed greens
I have more than a few fetishes, one of which is growing things. As you may know from before, I just can’t stop. Herbs are one of the things I tend to indulge myself with, so I am always looking for a new way to use them. That is how my "addiction" began to herb vinegars. To date, this obsession has not interfered with my ordinary life responsibilities, nor has it caused adverse consequences for me, but I will admit, my herbs do bring me pleasure. My favorite blends breathe simplicity, and ooze fragrance, color and flavor. I now have a new fetish…I am now accused of hoarding decorative glass bottles. You see, one compulsion leads to another. If I am make herb vinegars, I simply must have a sophisticated way to store them.
My previous blog was about tarragon and I gave a recipe for my tarragon vinegar. I’ve decided that I can’t blog about herbs without touching base on vinaigrettes which are one of my favorite ways to use my vinegars. This time of year, my spring mixes are providing us with a somewhat “steady” supply and we eat a salad most days of the week. Nothing makes a better topping than a home-made vinaigrette.
Most often, a vinaigrette is basically 3 parts of oil whisked together with 1 part of vinegar. I usually go heavy on the vinegar, especially if I have made my own herbal concoctions. I put this recipe together years ago when I made and sold my own herb vinegars so people would know how to use them. It gives you the basic ingredients then the license to “play” a bit with your additives. Don’t hold back… the vinaigrette’s disposition will evolve with each ingredient you add.
The herbs not only add flavor but gives your vinaigrette personality. You never know just who you will find at your dinner table. Add garlic and basil and you have a robust Italian joining you, or maybe a sultry Parisian if you go heavy on the tarragon. Try cumin or cayenne and you may find a sassy Cajun at your table. When it comes to food, there is nothing wrong with playing the field. You too, will find your own personal favorite and I insist you make them a steady dinner partner.
Here is my vinaigrette. It's worth a share!
Bloomers & Bites Vinaigrette
I always start with the basic vinaigrette. Then play around with the additions to make it different every time. Make it your own! You too, will get addicted!
Basic Ingredients for Vinaigrette
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – about ½ cup
Herb, Fruit or Balsamic Vinegar – 3 Tbsps
Minced fresh herbs (We like basil, dill, tarragon, and oregano)
Whole/ground herb seeds or spices
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Big squeeze of a fresh lemon
Additions or Substitutions
*Dry or prepared mustard (prepared gives a creamier texture)
*Minced fresh garlic clove (try roasted the garlic, too)
Minced fresh green onion, red onion or shallots
Minced fresh red, green, yellow, or orange pepper
Dash of ground cayenne
Parmesan or Romano Cheese
*Crumbled bleu, feta or goat cheese
*Minced Anchovy Filets
Minced pickled beets
Sugar, honey, or maple syrup
I love to add the prepared mustard vs the dried as it helps to emulsify or bind the ingredients together to make a creamier dressing. You can beat the ingredients together in a bowl or even shake them in a jar. Then immediately sprinkle on your leafy greens so the oil does not separate from the vinegar and of course, dig-in quickly so the lettuce does not wilt. Don’t be afraid to use as a marinade for meats or veggies!
*highly recommended additions :)
“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist - the problem is entirely the same in both cases….. To know how much oil one must mix with one's vinegar.” Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
In Good Health,