From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I came across this recipe years ago. We had been gifted with gorgeous grassfed steaks and I wanted a simple salad to accompany them. I let my fingers do the walking, and while searching I came across The Paupered Chef, a blog that has since become inactive. They were featuring a salad and dressing that was included in Thomas Keller's book Bouchon. With a pedigree like that, I knew my steaks would be in good company, so the salad and dressing became part of our meal. With just 3 ingredients, the dressing is the epitome of simplicity, though I must admit I mix it up a bit and use 2 parts canola oil to 1 part extra virgin olive oil to add some additional flavor. You'll notice that the dressing has no salt, sugar or herbs added to it. That's because Keller adds them to his salads rather than their dressing. This is a creamy sauce that flows easily and coats a spoon. It is not thick, and for that reason it is important to add only a third of the oil to the blender. Adding more at that time would turn the emulsion into a thick mayonnaise that cannot be poured. It's thought that Keller uses canola oil because it is bland and does not interfere with other flavors. I think most of you will enjoy the freshness of this dressing, but do remember it is unseasoned and you are expected to season the greens before tossing the salad. Do give this a try. It will keep for 2-1/2 weeks in the refrigerator, and should it separate, simply give it another whirl in the blender. Here is how the dressing and Keller's Bibb lettuce salad are made.
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1) Combine mustard and vinegar in a blender and blend at medium for 15 seconds to combine. With blender running, add 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream, making sure to add it slowly enough to develop a creamy emulsion.
2) Transfer mixture to a bowl and whisk in the remaining oil. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Yield: 2-1/2 cups salad dressing.
Bibb Lettuce Salad
1/2 cup Basic vinaigrette
4 heads Bibb lettuce, or enough lettuce for 4 of another type such as red leaf
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1) Carefully core each lettuce head and loosen leaves but keep structure of head intact, as it will be reassembled on the plate. If using a leaf lettuce, tear leaves into small pieces. Plunge lettuce into cold water to clean it, then gently spin in a salad spinner until very dry.
2) Transfer lettuce to a large mixing bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Scatter herbs and shallot and drizzle vinaigrette and lemon juice over everything. Toss it gently by hand to dress, and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
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