When you have good produce, the flavors of your vegetables are bright and interesting. They don’t need much to pull them together to be meal-worthy.
You may have a few fresh things to toss as a salad – baby greens, radishes, and green onions. If so, you already have superb flavor and texture. Toss the slices and shreds with a simple vinaigrette — nothing fancy. The vinaigrette serves as a finishing oil, pulling together the flavors of each of your salad components.
You might simply have a platter of sliced garden tomatoes or cucumber spears. A drizzling of vinaigrette brightens the flavors while at the same time lending sparkle and texture to your vegetable. A serving of garden tomatoes dressed with vinaigrette shouts “gourmet” without your having to break a sweat.
The same is true with cooked vegetables. Whether they are roasted, steamed, or braised, most vegetables will be more interesting if finished with a vinaigrette. Try this dressing with steamed broccoli or steamed cauliflower. You will be amazed. The effect is rather like a warm salad. Sprinkle on some freshly ground Parmesan cheese and you will be in heaven.
The bottom line secret for making fine vinaigrette is to use the best ingredients you can manage: extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon, fresh herbs, and sea salt. This is not the place to skimp!
Once you get going with vinaigrette dressings, be creative and brave. Try different herbs of your liking and different citrus juices or combinations of juice, like lemon and lime or orange juice. The possibilities are endless.
Simple Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or oregano or thyme or a combination of all
- One lemon, juiced
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Simple Vinaigrette Steps
- Mince the herbs finely. If you must use dried herbs, then crush them finely between the palms of your hands.
- Pour the olive oil and lemon juice into a small bowl.
- Add the minced herbs, salt and pepper.
- Mix well and taste for salt and pepper. Make any adjustments you think necessary. You may decide to add more lemon juice. Season this vinaigrette to satisfy your palette.
- Store any leftover vinaigrette in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It will be fresh and tasty for about a week.