Spring is in full swing here in Austin, and the greens are coming at us fast and furious. We are getting really, really gorgeous lettuce in our farm share. Have you ever had farm fresh organic lettuce, the day it was picked? It's amazing. Just imagine, there are people out there in the world who think that pale white round ball wrapped in cello is salad - those poor people have no idea how flavorful, and how colorful, salad greens can be. So in honor of spring, and gorgeous salad greens, I'll be posting a couple of recipes for my favorite homemade dressings, plus a redux of a chain restaurant standard, with farm vegetables as the star (coming up next....).
One of the things I love the most about cooking from our farm share is the very natural way all of the flavors compliment each other. It's so easy and so gratifying to pick a few ingredients from my weekly share and combine them into one amazing dish. The fact is, produce that comes in season at the same
time very naturally tastes good together - that's how our tastes evolved. And that sentiment is the inspiration for some of my very favorite salad treatments.
We get fresh, tender garlic, shallots and green onions from our farm share, and I find they all work equally well in this dressing. I use as much as I can - the green shoot as well - to add both flavor and color. You'll be able to tell, as your cleaning the bulb, what parts are tender. Anything that looks good can be used in this dressing.
In the mixing container of your blender (see note below) place the following:
2 - 3 bulbs of either green garlic, green shallots, or a combo of both
6-8 TBSP of very good red or white wine vinegar
1 fresh egg yolk (optional, but it eggs an amazing viscosity to the final product)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
4 - 6 turns of a good pepper grinder
Get the blender or hand blender going, then very, very slowly, in a very, very thin stream (really, a series of continuous drops) add 1/4 cup good quality olive oil. (This is the time to use the really good stuff, since you'll really taste it).This is my very basic recipe. A clove or two or three of fresh garlic, shallot of onion, plus olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. This works great as a dressing on lettuce, or as a dip for fresh veggies.
You can all all kinds of other things before you add the oil, too. Some of my favorite variations include using the juice of a lemon in place of the vinegar, than adding lots of good fresh parmesan to the salad. I also like adding a teaspoon or so of good Dijon mustard, or an anchovy or two.
A note about blenders: I use an immersion hand blender for my dressings. The small container is a good size for these small batch dressings, and it makes for much easier clean-up, too. This was a good investment for me, because I make a dressing 3 - 4 times a week. A good ol' counter top blender works just as well.