French vinaigrette. It’s a liquid poem you pour over freshly harvested greens, which in turn becomes the best dish you ever ate.
Like any French person, I eat a salad after every meal. Sometimes a salad IS my meal. Whether tender or robust, salad greens make a great base for a freshly poached egg; bacon lardons; tofu cubes steeped in tamari and ginger; seared foie gras. The list goes on. But what makes it all sing is the vinaigrette.
Because I eat a lot of salad, I make up a vinaigrette base so that when it’s time to toss those greens, all I have to do is measure out the amount I need, mince a clove of garlic, or slice a shallot paper thin and VOILA! A perfectly dressed salad in no time at all.
Some ingredients you may want to add to your vinaigrette after you’ve measured it out: paper-thin sliced shallot (essential in my book), minced garlic (recommended), freshly ground black pepper (highly appreciated), fresh herbs, lemon zest, hot pepper flakes, a little curry powder. You’ll have plenty of other ideas as well.
Here are two Basic Vinaigrette bases to have on hand. To use, just shake, measure out the quantity you want (about 2 tablespoons for 5 cups of washed and spun-dry lettuce leaves) and either whisk in whatever it is you plan to add, or sprinkle additions atop the salad and toss away.
Note: don’t add garlic, shallot, or fresh herbs to your vinaigrette base even though it might save you some time. Their microbial behaviour is unpredictable.