In a recent post, I talked about making a classic vinaigrette from scratch. I could have used it on a green salad, but that just seemed too obvious. Besides, I rarely make green salads at home. Much as I like to eat them, I find them too fussy to make often for myself.
Instead, I used my red wine vinaigrette to dress a composed salad featuring summer bounty: new red potatoes, baby beets, green beans and tomatoes. I suppose I could turn this into a recipe. but really all I did was scrub and wrap the potatoes and beets in foil (a pouch for each) and bake them at 350ºF for about an hour, or until they were fork tender. Then I peeled and cut the beets into wedges and cut the potatoes in half with the skins on. As for the green beans, I blanched those in salted boiling water for about five minutes (so they were tender crisp). And the tomatoes? Well, you need only look at the photos to see what I did with those.
I did all this several hours before dinner, so I put each of the prepared vegetables into a separate container, added a bit (less than a tablespoon) of vinaigrette to each and gave them a gentle toss before covering and placing in the refrigerator.
At dinner time all I had to do was exercise my vast creative energy by arranging the vegetables on a plate in a pleasing pattern (I prefer to keep them in separate sections) and then top with a final drizzle of the vinaigrette. If I may, could I draw your eye to how attractive the whole mustard grains are in the vinaigrette? I think they add pleasing texture and contrast, which is really shown to advantage in a composed salad like this.
So, the next time you’re thinking of making a salad, think beyond the greens and play around with some of the produce that’s in abundance this time of year. You’ll enjoy a hearty and flavourful salad, one that could serve as a first course or the star of the meal. For us it had the added benefit of stretching to two meals, thus saving me effort on the following day. After all, isn’t life supposed to be easy in the summertime?