Sunday, August 15, 2010
Salad - Mustard/lemon/olive oil dressing
Apologies for not focussing on salad... i completely forgot to take a pic of it before it was served.. but essentially you won't be able to see the vinaigrette anyway :)
I adore simple salads. ON the other hand, I deplore ready made dressings. I have this thing for artificial flavours, I'd always much, MUCH rather have something made from scratch with ingredients that I recognise. All these thickeners and emulsifiers can't be good for us, and it just doesn't make sense when it's so blindingly easy to make a fresh one from scratch.
The most important part of a salad is fresh ingredients. I'm not really a fan of "lettuce" as such, so I use softer leaves like baby mixed leaves, lamb's lettuce (valeriana/Mache), baby spinach, baby rocket etc. They are more tender, and darker green, meaning they are much more nutritious and more packet with antioxidants and vitamins :D WIN/WIN! :D
Made a very simple salad to go with the pepper chicken yesterday:
- 1 box/pack mixed leaves of your choice, I used "tuttinsieme" or "all-together", which is an awesome mix of leaves.
- 4 or 5 finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes (not semi dried, unless you have no choice)
- about 50 grams Pine-nuts
- About 40 grams pecorino, shaved (use the slicer option on a cheese grater)- any salty hard cheese is suitable, like grana padano, or parmiggiano.
- Olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- Balsamic vinegar (ideally white, but I used dark)
- pinch of sugar
- pepper, salt
- Dijon mustard (or any good mild French mustard)
Toast the pine-nuts by placing into a small frying pan and turning the heat up, making sure to be constantly tossing and stirring, so that they cook evenly. As soon as they are done, remove from pan and place on a side-plate to cool. It doesn't matter if they are not completely cool before adding to salad, but they need to be somewhat cooler than "bloody hot".
Make the dressing by pouring the lemon juice, some olive oil, a teaspoon or so of mustard, pepper, salt, a dash of vinegar and a pinch of sugar into a jar. Close the jar and shake well. Alternatively you can whisk in a bowl but hey... shaking in a jar is SO much fun and you'll have a container to carry it if you're going to a friend's house for a bbq (as I was)!
Taste the dressing at this point, and see if it needs some seasoning adjusting. Sometimes I end up adding more mustard, oil, or more vinegar at this point, but mostly it's just some pepper and/or salt.
Once it's all mixed in, add the sliced sundried tomatoes to it. I like to add them to the dressing as I find that they are less likely to sink to the bottom than if i add them to the leaves before dressing and tossing.
Place the leaves in a large bowl. Pour over dressing and toss well, making sure all the leaves are coated.
Sprinkle the shaved cheese over the top, and then sprinkle the pine nuts.
This salad is great to accompany any BBQ'd food, especially if it's got lemon and/or mustard in the marinade :) I served it with Pepper chicken. (recipe preceeding).