Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mustard and Balsamic Vinaigrette

This year I intentionally planted a large number of lettuce plants in our vegetable garden. I wanted variety and I wanted quantity, so this spring we transplanted at least 4 starter plants each of Romaine, Butter Crunch, Arugula, and Summer Bibb. I honestly would have planted even more if we had the space, and as it turns out, it's a good thing we didn't.

We have more lettuce right now than we can possibly eat as a family of 5. We have enough fresh greens for each and every evening meal plus some for neighbors, friends, and well, quite frankly, strangers. Do you want some lettuce?? C'mon over. I have plenty to spare and I really don't want to see any of it go to waste.

Not that any of it will. Did you know how long fresh lettuce stores in the refrigerator? I have been absolutely amazed at how long our greens will keep. The large pot shown above is now a permanent fixture in our refrigerator. Each week or so since mid-June, I harvest a bunch of heads of lettuce. I separate the leaves. Wash them. Half heartily dry them. Stack them. And then place them in this pot, which has paper towels at the bottom. These semi-dry leaves will stay there for weeks and still be crisp, crunchy, and fresh when we are ready for them. I have never experienced the same kind of preservation from greens we have purchased from the grocery store.

With the abundance of greens at our fingertips, it seems I am in a constant search for good tasting vinaigrette. Do you have one you would like to share? Please, pretty please, fill me in on your family's favorite vinaigrette in the comment section. This Mustard and Balsamic Vinaigrette is the newest one that we have tried, but I would love some more variety to accompany our bounty of greens....and I am certain there are others with plethora of greens being harvested from their vegetable garden who could benefit as well.


1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 small shallot, finely grated (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Whisk all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl until blended and creamy. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in small jar, seal tightly with lid, and shake until mixture is blended and creamy.

(Note from Holli: I choose to mix the vinaigrette right in a large salad bowl. I remove at least 1/2 of the vinaigrette after it is combined and store it for another meal.)

2. Toss greens until vinaigrette is appropriately distributed.

3. Add any other ingredients you desire. I used what we had in the refrigerator: red onions, cucumbers, and spiced pecans.

Yields: 2/3 cup vinaigrette.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.


Lainie said...

First off, yes please on the lettuce! Can you bring some on Wed??

I like to keep things pretty simple but we think they taste good.

My basic dressing is really similar to yours: 1 t Dijon (but I prefer an Old World Style that is a whole grain mustard. We use Maille brand & I usually put in more than the recipe says;) 2 T + 1 t balsamic or raw wine vinegar, 1/2 C e.v.o.o. and 1 T expeller-expressed flax oil.

To this base, I sometimes add garlic, herbs (thyme, basil or oregano...) or sun dried tomato flakes.

I am also going to try this one from Nourishing Traditions called Walnut Dressing:
2T sherry vinegar, 2 T unrefined walnut oil and 6 T e.v.o.o.

Looking forward to seeing other recipes :)

Mamahollioni said...

Thanks for the vinaigrette recipes...I think I'll try the Walnut Dressing tomorrow. And yes, I would be happy to share some lettuce.

hands full said...

Here's one to try...
3 tbsp fresh oj
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp olive oil

let me know what you think :)