Well, the asparagus has come and gone . I don’t think it is actually possible to get tired of fresh farm asparagus but let’s just say that with the amount that I ordered between work and home … I am looking forward to all the other green (and red, orange, purple …) delights of the season!
Whilst the farm folk are toiling away to produce this cornucopia of taste and texture and nutrition …. it behooves us to spend some time perfecting an accent for them. Salads can be dressed in a staggering variety of ways or even enjoyed in their unclad splendour! My latest personal favourite is a mixture of Balkan style yoghurt and locally produced kim chi – with a big shout-out to Josh and Caroline from Green Table Foods for their awesome-tasting, healthful and absolutely essential line of fermented veggies.
On a more traditional track … the most popular dressing at Loyola House is our Herb Vinaigrette. It varies a little depending on the herbs available (and the mood of the cook preparing it!) but it can be used for a leaf salad or on more exotic salads such as fennel, artichoke heart or the radish slaw pictured above.
Combine in cuisinart or blender…
3 T grainy Dijon
½ c lemon juice
½ c red wine vinegar
1 T each of dried oregano and basil
1 t dried thyme
1 T garlic
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 T maple syrup or honey
4 green onions – white part only
Puree, then add in a very, very slow stream…..
1 c veg oil
Add – a little faster….
1 c veg oil
1 c extra virgin olive oil
When the dressing gets too thick, thin it out with a little white wine or apple cider (or water if absolutely necessary).
Add and run blender briefly (you want the herbs chopped, not pureed)…
Tops of the above green onions
½ c each of loose parsley and dill
Chives (and other herbs as your garden or farmer’s market permit) to taste …
Taste and adjust seasoning
This is essentially a thin mayonnaise which uses Dijon mustard instead of eggs to create an emulsion – where the oil is dispersed throughout the dressing making it thicker with a richer mouth-feel. Much care should be used as you add the first third of the oil – it has to drop in slowly enough that the droplets have a chance to be broken apart and bound into suspension and held there by the mustard. Once the emulsion is established, you can go quicker … in fact you should go quicker lest the friction of the blade transmit too much heat to the dressing, which can also threaten the emulsion. Sounds like a scary business! In fact, even if the emulsion fails and the dressing splits into two layers … all you need do is shake well before using and all is right with the world! This will keep in the fridge for up to a month, although eventually the acidity of the vinegar with fade the lovely bright green of the herbs.
Happy gardening … and happier eating!! Take good care of each other!