With summer comes lighter eating and with the abundance of local produce in season, thoughts quite naturally turn to salads. Fresh, delicious, and good for you, salad can be as simple as a mix of greens, to something more elaborate like the French Niçoise, to something you’ve invented by using what you have on hand.
By having a few ingredients in your kitchen, it’s as easy as putting them in a jar, adding a tight-fitting lid, and shaking. Just remember the following, as you experiment with flavours:
- the basic ratio of vinegar to oil is 1 to 3
- a bit of mustard adds flavour and helps to emulsify/bring the vinaigrette together
- adding a bit of honey, maple syrup or even jam adds another dimension, and helps counteract the acidity of vinegar
- adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice brightens – taste as you go
- use salt & pepper; don’t forget to season!
Do measure the ingredients, especially if you’re new to this. By using either a tablespoon or something like a 1/4 cup measure, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Otherwise, it may take some fiddling to get it right… or you may not get there at all. Made extra…? Pop in the fridge for another time! To use again, simply warm to room temperature – and shake!
The point of this, is simplicity. Once you get it, you’ll never buy a bottled vinaigrette or dressing again. It’s all about healthy eating… right??
Why would you eat something with an ingredient list like this…?
When, by doing this…
You get this… (extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of seedless raspberry jam & a pinch of salt & pepper)
Experiment in small quantities at first, until you get the hang of it. Taste as you go. For little effort, you get maximum flavour to enhance whatever type of vegetables & salad you’ve put together. You’ll also save money and be healthier for it. What’s not to like…?
While having a selection of oils and vinegars is optimum, you really only need one of each to get started: a good extra virgin olive oil, some red wine vinegar & a spoon of Dijon mustard make a great little vinaigrette! You can work up to something more elaborate, by using different oils, vinegars, mustards – in whatever combination suits you. Perhaps a bit of minced garlic or a teaspoon of poppy seeds. Like many things when you do it yourself, the options are limitless. Find the flavours you like and go with it. Just be sure the combination does not overpower your salad – it should enhance it.
Next time you’re grocery shopping, really take a look at what’ s available. Then, get in the kitchen and start working on your shaking technique~