Last Fall Tiffany and I went to Paris to celebrate her high school graduation and 19th birthday. At the end of an extremely long day of walking the streets of Paris and eating everything divine that we saw, we decided that we were too tired to go out to dinner. Our feet were killing and we felt like crawling back to our hotel. All I wanted to eat was a very light, fresh salad and Tiffany wanted "frites" (french fries). I called room service and requested a light and lucious salad and "frites". Just minutes later a cart was wheeled into our room with a plate with the most simple yet lucious salad and a platter of fries. The salad consisted of beautifully arranged bibb lettuce with a simple vinegar and oil dressing. It was exactly what my body needed. I licked the plate clean while Tiffany snarfed down her french fries. We cuddled up in bed and happily fell asleep. Recharging for another fabulous day in Paris.
That was a pretty long story to let you know that I came home from Paris to recreate that light salad. I have two viniagrette's that I'm going to share with you. Both simple to make, using ingredients that you should have in you pantry. Since I started making my own salad dressings, I never purchase the bottled stuff. It saves me money and tastes so much fresher and healthier.
Let's start with the salad greens. I love to mix different types of lettuce in my salads. I always use leaf lettuce. I have no use for iceberg lettuce any more. I don't even think my kids know what that is. The darker the color the healthier it is. So why by white iceberg lettuce? That's my thinking. If I'm going to eat ruffage, it's going to be good for me.
Leaf lettuce needs to be washed thoroughly. Cut the bottoms off of the lettuce bunches.
Fill a sink full of cold water. Put all the greens in the water and swish around. The dirt and sand will fall to the bottom of the sink.
Put the greens in the basket of a lettuce spinner. If you don't have a spinner, you may want to think about purchasing one. They are so awesome. They cut so much time in washing and drying lettuce.
Here is an extremely dark picture of mine.
Spin as much water off as possible.
I like to pour the lettuce out of the spinner on to a clean dish towel to dry a bit more.
For a French Vinaigrette you will need a very good flavored olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sea salt, a shallot, and some fresh herbs. I'm using thyme and parsley.
To chop the shallot, start by making lengthwise slices.
Then slice the opposite direction for a nice fine mince.
Chop the parsley and thyme.
Pour the red wine vinegar into a small mixing bowl.
Add the shallots.
Add the parley and thyme.
1/8 teaspoon salt.
I really love this Dijon. It's made in France.
Add 1/2 teaspoon. You can add more Dijon if you want a stronger flavor.
While whisking, slowly drizzle in a few tablespoons of your good flavored olive oil.
Let this stand for about 10 minutes before dressing your salad greens.
Gently tear your lettuce leaves. At this point you can add whatever you would like to your salad. I personally like it very simple. I have added a few spring radishes for some color.
Just before serving, drizzle with the vinaigrette. Toss. This would be a good time for some fresh ground pepper.
Serve immediately. Remember that once a salad is dressed in will not hold up for a long period of time. I try to only toss up what I think we will eat without having leftovers.
This salad is so good with just about anything. I love it along side an omelette or frittata.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon shallot, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, salt, shallot, herbs and Dijon. Slowly whisk in olive oil. This can be left at room temperature for 8 hours. If you refrigerate the dressing, the olive oil will solidify a bit and will need to be brough back to room temperature and re-whisked.
The next salad has a lemon garlic dressing with ribbons of parmigiano reggiano.
For this dressing you will need the juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1 clove garlic, sea salt, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Simple!
Juice 1/2 of the lemon and chop the garlic.
In a small mixing bowl, add lemon juice, garlic and salt.
Whisk in olive oil. That's it!
Just look at how gorgeous my greens are. This beats the bagged mixes any day.
Ahhh parmigiano reggiano! I like to use my potato peeler to peel of ribbons of cheese for the top of the salad.
I just love the nutty flavor of parmigiano reggiano. You could add croutons to this salad if you would like. Just please whatever you do, DON'T add bacon bits. Ugh it would totally ruin my beautiful light salad. However, I'd never know now would I. My husband would love me forever if I put bacon on everything!
Drizzle with the lemon garlic dressing, toss, serve. This is so light a refreshing. I like to serve this salad with Italian. It goes great along side any pasta dish.
I hope you enjoy my light spring salads. Try some new types of leaf lettuce greens. You'll be so glad you did.
Lemon Garlic Dressing
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, salt and Dijon. Slowly whisk in olive oil. This will make enough dressing for one large salad.