Thursday 25 April 2013

Vinaigrette for a Teacup Salad

I can tell I'm getting desperate for the freshness of spring - I harvested the tiniest of lettuce leaves so I could have a fresh salad!  Oh, but it was ssssssoooooooooo good!  Unfortunately, it was barely enough to fill a teacup sized bowl.  Actually, that's an exaggeration - it was basically one forkful.  But I made a homemade vinaigrette anyway, as I am planning to also use it on a pasta salad in the next day or so (I think I used about 1/4 tsp to dress the salad!).

I remember being amazed the first time I saw someone make a homemade vinaigrette, but it's the easiest thing to do once you know how.  I personally prefer a tart dressing versus oily, but it's definitely an individual preference.  It's easy enough to play with the main ingredients until you figure out what you like.

In a 250 ml mason jar, add the following:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard

Then fill the jar, leaving a one-inch gap at the top, with a combination of olive oil and red wine vinegar, based on your taste preference.  My version is about 1/3 olive oil to 2/3 red wine vinegar.  Many vinaigrette recipes call for 3:1 oil to vinegar, but I find that very oily.  It's very much a personal preference.  If you aren't sure what you like, just add slowly and taste as you go.  Add salt and pepper to taste - it is very bland and definitely requires some salt, but start with just a pinch or two and add slowly to avoid adding too much.  Put the lid on the jar and give it a shake to blend the ingredients.

The most important step is to taste it!!  Then adjust accordingly.  Add more oil, vinegar or salt as needed.

The dressing will store for a few days in the fridge, but the oil and vinegar will quickly separate, so just shake again to mix.

The red wine vinegar can easily be replaced with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar (just a few examples).  And, of course, the olive oil can be replaced with a more neutral canola oil.