Monday, June 17, 2013

Baby greens and herbs with balsamic vinaigrette

I love salad. Not because its healthy but because I really just like salad. Give me some nice, light lettuce with some crunchy veggies and maybe some cheese of some kind, with a dressing that makes your lips pucker (none of those sweet creamy ones for me thank you) and I could eat the whole bowl. When we were kids we always had homemade vinaigrettes with our salads. One of my brothers would wait until everyone had taken their portion, then he would hold up the bowl and ask if anyone wanted any more and hardly waiting to hear the answer he would take his fork and polish off whatever was left. We are a family of salad lovers. Perhaps it is the French influence? Who knows. Whatever it is, thank you to my parents for instilling it :)

These days I love to go to the garden and grab a couple handfuls of various colours of lettuce and greens, some herbs and throw it all together for a quick side salad to whatever we're eating. Lettuce grows well when its cool and tends to get bitter quickly once the weather warms up, so I am hoping to take advantage of this prime lettuce weather while it lasts. Here are some pics from my garden of what went into the salad, with the recipe for my go-to vinaigrette. I just picked a bunch of baby lettuce, baby chard, basil and parsley, and tore up the herbs a bit to spread out the flavour.

Variety of baby lettuce 

Rainbow chard!

Basil and Italian parsley flourishing on the deck

Getting to the plate


Balsamic vinaigrette

This recipe packs some flavour punch. If you like a milder dressing, add more oil and less garlic.  Feel free to dress it up differently with some chopped shallots or whatever herbs are in season - mint complements nicely!

2/3 cups good quality olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped

Simply combine in a pourable, storable jar or container and shake it up!  Use to taste with any salad, with greens or another favourite - quinoa salad. 

Lunch: baby greens with vinaigrette, chicken soup from my mom, cheese and Sophie's leftover granola bar.

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