While there may not have been very much sunshine lately, it’s always salad weather around at the cottage.
I’m talking big platters of roasted vegetables tossed with grains like buckwheat and barley, bowls of lentils flecked with salty feta, toasted, still-warm nuts strewed across dishes of crunchy broccoli slaw (try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen – ou won’t regret it). Substantial salads, salads that lift an entire meal and tip the balance of what’s on the table away from meat and towards vegetables, are how I want to eat now.
To be properly interesting, though, salads need dressings. Heck, with the right dressing – ie one that they’ve measured and mixed themselves – I can even persuade Little Missy and the Small Girl to eat raw cabbage and salad greens (as long as the stars are in their correct alignment, that is.)
The basics are easy. Classic French vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar, plus some seasoning:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar – red/white wine, balsamic or cider vinegars are all good
a pinch of salt, some freshly ground black pepper
Mix those together – using a jar is particularly good if your own smallies are helping. Just make sure (I cannot emphasise this enough) that they put the lids on properly before they start shaking.
I’ve also started making my own mayonnaise, after discovering Julia Child’s whole egg version blender in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I hate having random egg whites stashed in the freezer so this no-waste recipe speaks to my frugal inner self.
You’ll find more ideas on salad dressings and things to do with your homemade mayo over on Irish Country Living: Salad Days.
Whole Egg Mayonnaise
Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
225ml sunflower oil or a mixture of sunflower/rapeseed/olive oils
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting. Break the egg into a medium mixing bowl and add the mustard and salt. Using a hand-held immersion blender, whizz together for a minute. Add the lemon juice and blend again.
Hold the oil in a jug in one hand and the blender with the other, add the oil to the bowl, a drop at a time, while blending. The most important thing here is to make sure each drop of oil is thoroughly mixed in before adding more. As the mixture starts to thicken, you can start pouring more quickly. It will soon become almost too thick to blend.
Taste and add more salt, mustard or lemon juice as appropriate. It can also be thinned with a little water. Scrape into a screwcap jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week.