Sunday, April 21, 2013

ChezCindy: Spring Salad Greens with Vinaigrette

Finally we have the arrival of Spring after this long extended Winter!  It's so pretty to see the grass greening-up, the early flowers blooming, and the trees beginning to bud.  We can also look forward to local salad greens that will soon be reaching the markets.  Of course we have great variety of salad greens throughout the Winter months, but the fresh local-grown greens at the farmer's market are special, sweet and delicious.  Many farmer's markets open in May, including Westerville!

This winter I ventured out and tried several different greens beyond what I normally use in my salads.  Most commonly I use spinach as a base for my salads.  I'm not a fan of the "Spring Mix" as it doesn't keep well if not used quickly.  I turned to a hardier greens and found that I really like chicory, often called curly endive.  I also tried celery cabbage and napa cabbage.  The cabbage combined together with the curly endive is a great combination that holds up well to the dressing.  And really, a salad is only as good as the dressing added. 

I have made my own salad dressing for so many years now.  Below is my standard salad dressing recipe.  You can switch it up by changing out the type of vinegar.  My pantry is stocked with red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry, raspberry, balsamic, and white balsamic, to name a few. Also consider using different oils; olive oil, canola, grape seed, or walnut oil.  Each of these will produce a different taste and color.  You can also add chopped shallots or herbs.

Chez Cindy House Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons vinegar
6 tablespoons oil

In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper; whisk to combine.  Add the vinegar; whisk to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking vigorously while doing so.  Serve with your favorite combination of salad greens.  Dressing will keep for 3-4 days.

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