Monday, March 15, 2010

Simple Salad with French Vinaigrette

Oh, how I love salads. Not in an annoying girl-not-eating-on-first-date way (by the way, I've never been that girl), but in a hearty, voracious "I will now compose the perfect salad for this moment and it will kick ass" way. Salads matter. I go through phases with them in my own kitchen, showering one with attention for weeks and then firing it from the runway when I'm bored. For a record three months, though, this salad has kept my attention. It's sneaky, this salad - so simple yet somehow so rewarding. So before I proclaim it "out" and send it to the workroom to pack up its things, I thought I'd share it here.

The first and most important ingredient: the dressing. I found it via David Lebovitz, whose post on french vinaigrette is exactly why I love his blog. He doesn't just throw out a recipe; he sets the stage. He muses over mustard and complains at length about how balsamic vinegar is misused in dressings. He makes the case for sherry vinegar and then charmingly includes photos of freshly-washed greens drying en plein air. And finally, the recipe. Here it is in all its glory.

French Vinaigrette
from David Lebovitz

Makes about 1/4 cup - you'll want to double this if your head(s) of lettuce are especially large

1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
(or red wine vinegar if you don't have sherry vinegar - but I recommend taking this excuse to buy sherry vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
(I love Maille Dijon Mustard so much I eat it with plain crackers as a snack. The stuff is like crack to me.)
3T to 4T olive oil
Fresh herbs, if desired
(I love making this dressing with fresh flat leaf parsley, but any herb you love will do - or none at all!)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, and shallot. Let stand for about ten minutes.

2. Mix in the Dijon mustard, then add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir well, then taste. If too sharp, add the additional olive oil and more salt, if necessary. Add more mustard if you like as well.

3. If you wish to add fresh herbs, it's best to chop and mix them in shortly before serving so they retain their flavor.

4. Plan on adding freshly ground black pepper to your greens before dressing the salad.

This dressing will keep for about eight hours at room temperature. I like to make it while dinner's on the stove and I can throw everything together when it's fresh.

Maggie's Simple Salad

It doesn't get any easier than this, folks. Or more delicious! 
(For now. Until my next salad phase strikes.)

French vinaigrette
Soft greens (I usually do a combination of red and green leaf lettuce)
One apple, cut into strips (Pink Lady apples are my fave)
Handful of walnuts
Sprinkling of cheese if you want some (I've done a slew of different cheeses - it's pictured here with freshly grated Parm)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Add freshly ground black pepper to your greens and mix in apple slices and walnuts

2. Dress the salad and add cheese, if desired

3. Eat! Make silly noises and utter weird groans because it is so good!


  1. This salad looks really delicious. I might have to try this!

  2. Mmm, Pink Lady apples are my favorite too, and apple in salad is always delicious.

  3. NOM NOM NOM! I recently discovered the pink ladies and I am never going back! I can't wait to make this salad.

  4. I am making that tomorrow!

    I cannot decide what I like more - your politics or your recipes!

    come see me at

  5. You've succeeded in making me hungry for a salad at 10:30pm. Well done.

    I've heard Smitten Kitchen rave about David Lebovitz time and time again, but I've never stumbled upon his blog. I've added it to my reader now. Thanks!

  6. I agree about Balsamic Vinegar being misappropriated for salads.Champagne vinegar is a favorite of mine.


C'mon, make my day...

Related Posts with Thumbnails