Last night salad greens made a bed for a simple, hot-weather tuna–white bean salad (1 can of tuna, two cans of cannellini beans, 1 can of artichoke hearts—all well drained—plus finely chopped garlic scapes—could have been scallions or onions—steamed asparagus—could have been green beans—and sliced Harukei turnips—could have been radishes or carrots). I dressed the salad mixture with a good olive oil plus red wine vinegar, sea salt, and pepper. A fine, easy meal for a hot night. Bread and wine and a porch for catching the slight breeze made it a fine dinner.
Tonight I’m bringing a salad to dinner at a friend’s house. Because the greens are so lovely, so fresh, and so flavorful, I don’t want a lot of other ingredients to detract from them. So all I will add are some sugar snap peas (the season will end quickly, so they are added to almost everything while they last), a handful of chive blossoms, and a couple of leaves of fresh oregano and mint.
If I were dressing this at home, I might just drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil, splash in some sherry vinegar, and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt – that’s what I usually do. But for tonight, I’ll shake up a dressing in a canning jar because it is easier to transport that way. Then, I’ll dress it at the last minute before we eat.
Salad greens this fresh should be dressed with a light, light hand.
Ripton House Dressing
Makes about 1/3 cup
Balsamic vinegar with maple syrup has an almost smoky aftertaste. The maple syrup acts as an emulsifier and holds the dressing together.
1 large garlic clove, minced1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar1 ½ teaspoons pure maple syrup3/4 teaspoons soy sauce4 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a half-pint canning jar and shake until well blended.
Or, you could go with a classic vinaigrette.
Makes about 1/4 cup
A classic vinaigrette is made of oil and vinegar, bound together with a touch of mustard and flavored with a little garlic, shallot, or herbs. The best quality extra virgin olive oil and the best-quality vinegar will make all the difference. Which vinegar to use – red wine, white wine, sherry, herbal, raspberry, balsamic – depends on the salad you are dressing. All work equally well with a salad of mixed greens. This recipe is easily multiplied when a large quantity it desired, but for best flavor, make it up fresh each time you need it.
1 tablespoon balsamic, herbal, raspberry red wine, sherry, or white wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced, or 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs or shallot
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oi
lSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the vinegar, garlic, and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly pour in the oil. Whisk constantly until the oil is fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Use immediately.
Adapted from Serving Up the Harvest. ©2009 Andrea Chesman. All rights reserved.