Holy hotness. It’s 100 degrees in New York. My stove is undergoing the longest stretch of neglect in the history of kitchen appliances. And salads have become the name of the lunch game.
Since we’re (conveniently) on the subject, pulling together and eating a nice, healthy, market fresh salad doesn’t need to be a mundane chore. It should be enjoyable, mouth-watering – an all out pleasant, satisfying, good-for-your-conscience experience. And three simple steps can get you there…
#1. Fresh Ingredients. Lettuce and veggies don’t need to be super-duper-organic-free range-free trade to be good for you and good for your taste buds. Reach into your bountiful basket or hit up the local farmer’s market if you have one, but any and all bright, crisp vegetables and juicy, ripe fruits can lend unique flavors and body-boosting nutrients.
P.S. Red bell peppers – loads of vitamin C.
The more the better… and oh yeah, my personal secret to a satisfactory salad is cheese. I think blue cheese goes with everything, but staples like cheddar and Parmesan complement most traditional salad ingredients. For salads featuring fruit, try a fresh farmer’s cheese or Brie. Mmmm… strawberries and brie… add a bag of mixed greens and you’ve got yourself a party. But even plain ol’ iceberg can shine with the right amount of…
#2. Salt, salt, salt. Yes, on a salad. You don’t need to go overboard (a teaspoon a day is the recommended intake), but salt is the reason restaurants can make money on bland vegetation. Just a thought. And lastly…
#3 Decent dressing. As I’m sure anyone with a job or a family knows, dressing can simply be a nice ratio of oil-to-vinegar (and sometimes that’s all there’s time and energy for). Stick to a 1-to-3 ratio of vinegar to oil for great results every time. But a seductive shallot vinaigrette is just as simple if you have three minutes (they’re all the rage these days at restaurants). Shallots, vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, heavy cream and salt go into the blender…
… and out comes a creamy, savory, tangy salad dressing. If you can get your hands on a cheap squeeze bottle, vinaigrette can be at your fingertips in a second’s notice. Plus they’re just fun to use. And if salads need anything, it’s a little fun.
|Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette|
- 1 shallot, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar (can use red or white wine vinegar)
- 3/4 cup olive or canola oil
- 2 Tbs heavy cream
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 pinches kosher salt, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Store refrigerated for up to two weeks.