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Monday, March 21, 2011

An Easy Vinaigrette

I usually don't add sea salt to my vinaigrette because I never think it needs it. Others insist it's essential, so do as you prefer.

1 tbsp red wine vinegar, or substitute apple cider vinegar
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard or ground mustard seed
1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
Ground peppercorn to taste
3 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste

Add all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, to the bottom of a large bowl. I find it easiest to collect the mustard with a clean whisk, estimating the amount I'll need. And I use the biggest bowl I have because I make large salads but also because I like to have plenty of room to toss everything together thoroughly, ensuring that every leaf is evenly seasoned.

If you have the time, allow it to sit for a couple of minutes at this stage so the vinegar can soften the sharp garlic flavor and the salt can dissolve, if you've added some.

Whisk until thoroughly combined. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Except lettuce, spinach and any other delicate additions, add your other ingredients to the bowl. This layer will form a barrier between the dressing and the lettuce, keeping the leaves from becoming soggy.

I added thinly sliced red onion, carrot shavings and raw walnuts. If there are ingredients that you want seasoned but not tossed together (like grilled chicken or a veggie burger that you want to arrange on top), reserve a little vinaigrette to drizzle over later.

Tear the lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in the bowl on top of the other ingredients.

Set it aside until you're ready to eat it and toss it together at the last moment.

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