The Simpsons were wrong. You CAN win friends with salad…at least with one dressed with a fantastic vinaigrette. (The Simpsons: “You Don’t Win Friends With Salad.”)
Today you get two excellent vinaigrette recipes.
The vinaigrette on the left is a fresh fig vinaigrette. The one on the right is a fresh tomato vinaigrette. The fig dressing is sweet and complex–perfect to dress a salad made with spinach or other assertive greens. The fresh tomato dressing has a wonderful tang. It is perfect for any tossed salad.
Next time you find yourself reaching for a bottle of a pre-made salad dressing, stop and consider making your own. You’ll enjoy the fresh flavors and you will be able to control the ingredients. You might even win some friends!
- 1 small to medium shallot (finely diced)
- 1 T. red wie vinegar
- 1 T. good quality balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 4 large ripe figs (peeled and mashed)
- 1 t. granulated sugar (or to your taste)
- 5 T. good quality olive oil
- 1 large, ripe tomato (washed, cored and cut in half)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper ( to your taste)
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 3/4 C. good olive oil
- 1 T. basil leaves (minced)
- Dice the shallot into a small dice and put into a bowl. Add red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir and set aside to macerate for at least 5 minutes. When the shallots are ready, stir in 1 t. Dijon mustard, 1 t. granulated sugar (optional) and 4 large mashed figs. Whisk olive oil into the dressing until it is creamy.
- Remove the core from the fresh tomato. Cut the tomato in half (top to bottom) and grate the tomato using a box grater. (Do this over a shallow bowl. Hold the tomato half in your hand with the flesh of the tomato touching the box grater. Press the tomato against the grater and slowly grate using an up and down motion. Do this carefully so that you don't scrape your hand. When the tomato is grated, discard the skin and repeat the process with the other half of the tomato. You need about one half cup of tomato pulp for this recipe.) Put the tomato pulp in a bowl and set aside.
- Grate the garlic clove into the bowl with the tomato pulp. Use a microplane if you have one. Alternatively, you can mash the garlic with the tines of a fork.
- Add the vinegar, salt, black pepper and sugar to the bowl with the tomato pulp and the garlic. Mix well. You want the sugar to be dissolved. Whisk the olive oil into the bowl. Drizzle the oil in slowly and whisk until the dressing is emulsified.
- Stir in minced basil and let the dressing sit for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
This Fresh Fig Vinaigrette recipe is adapted from a David Tanis recipe on the NY Times site here. . The Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette recipe is adapted from a recipe that appears on The Creekside Cook site here.