A sure sign of Spring at the farmers’ market is the plethora of greens that abound from almost every stall. And if you belong to a CSA, you’re certain to get plenty of greens in each of your Spring shares. The Chef and I are currently members of YellowTree Farm’s CSA … and we have already been blessed with a bounty of greens this Spring!
YellowTree Farm is family-owned, biointensive, urban homestead located in St. Louis. In addition to their CSA, products from YellowTree Farm (including meat, eggs, produce, adorable craft items, and more) can be purchased at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market each Wednesday.
A recent CSA share included a large bag of mixed greens, some tender and mild, some full of bold, peppery flavor and crunch. While I do enjoy a hearty entrée salad from time to time, we’re trying to get into the habit of having a simple salad with each meal (after all, most salad greens are high in vitamins A & C, and some greens are also a good source of calcium, folic acid, iron, and dietary fiber). In keeping with this healthy habit, we also prefer to make our own salad dressing; it’s quick, it’s easy, and it doesn’t contain any potentially-harmful chemicals or preservatives.
The following “recipe” details exactly the most recent dressing we made, but what’s truly great about it is the fact that the possibilities for this recipe are endless. You can mix and match your oil, vinegar, and seasonings to get just the right recipe for the season or the menu.
Instead of using extra virgin olive oil, a variety of flavored oils would work as well (think walnut oil or hazelnut oil). Or change up the type of vinegar called for in our recipe; balsamic, raspberry, or red wine vinegar would be a great substitution, or try seasoned rice wine vinegar, which is mild and slight sweet. Finally, feel free to mix up the seasoning portion by using your favorite fresh herbs instead (fresh tarragon is another favorite of ours).
“Mix and Match” Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Combine all ingedients in a quart-size mason jar with a tight fitting lid.
2. Shake well to incorporate all ingredients together.
3. Store in refrigerator and use within 3 or 4 days.
Notes: The typical oil to vinegar ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. If you choose a stronger-flavored oil and a milder vinegar, a 2:1 ratio is preferable. Also, if you’re using bitter greens in your salad, adding a bit of sweetness to the dressing, such as honey or maple syrup, would work well.
In the end, just choose ingredients and flavors that you enjoy … or play with various combinations until you find a new favorite!