vinaigrette basics + taters

I am lucky enough to like vinaigrette on its own merit–tangy and flavorful; it can even be creamy (see the recipe below). Above all, it’s delicious on most anything from salads to most vegetables to fish.

I am also luckily enough to generally dislike cream-based dressings. In third grade, kids began pouring ranch on their pizza (which I understand even some grown people like). But this was a square piece of cafeteria pizza, and slimey buttermilk ranch didn’t do this pizza’s appearance any favors. It didn’t stop there; kids then began pouring their ranch all over everything: greenbeans, grapes, corn on the cob. But a line was crossed. Ever since Tony (name changed to protect the guilty) poured a cup of ranch into his chocolate milk AND drank it, my stomach is sour.

For all you vinaigrette skeptics, here’s the deal with ranch and 1000 Island if my story didn’t turn you off: 2 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch has 12% of your daily saturated fat and 3% of your daily value of cholesterol (it also has a lot of sodium (11%)). A 2 tablespoon serving of Wish-bone 1000 Island has 10% of your daily saturated fat and 3% of your daily cholesterol (and 12% of your daily sodium). 3% cholesterol doesn’t sound too bad; the problem is that in a large serving of salad you likely might have more than a serving.

Here’s my basic lemon vinaigrette recipe. I like this as a basic vinaigrette because it’s a creamier vinaigrette, and it’s even creamier with the addition of a little dijon mustard.

For enough vinaigrette to dress a large salad:

Lemon Vinaigrette awaiting its fate
Lemon Vinaigrette awaiting its fate
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard (optional, but it make a creamier vinaigrette)

Whisk together; pour over anything that strikes your fancy. A salad would do, but it’s also a nice dip for vegetables, a marinade for fish, or a sauce for most vegetables (I really like it on greenbeans).

Now, let’s talk about where potatoes come in. I have love potatoes, which I will acknowledge is passed down from my momma. We like them pretty much any which way: grilled, baked, roasted, mashed. Tonight I snuck some boiled potatoes in a salad dressed with this lemon vinaigrette. The potatoes really served three purposes: a) being delicous, b) they’re filling and c) when thrown in a salad and vinaigrette, they turn super creamy (you won’t even want that filthy ranch or 1000 island). There’s a recipe below for what I put in my salad but it’s only a suggestion. Put whatever you like in your salad (or whatever you have in your fridge). If you want something with some kick, boil your potatoes in crab boil (I like Zatarain’s). If you don’t want to boil potatoes, roast them in the oven.

Salad with New Potatoes (feeds 2 as dinner; 4 as a side salad)

Salad with New Potatoes
Salad with New Potatoes
  • 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tomato, seeded and cube
  • 4-5 boiled red potatoes, cut in cubes once cooled

Assemble the salad in a bowl and dress with the lemon vinaigrette. Eat it. You will be full!



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