Everyday Green Salad

By Ann Fulton

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 
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The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day. Though perfectly divine with fresh greens alone, you may add your favorite salad mix-ins, from crumbled blue cheese and halved cherry tomatoes to slivered red onion, thinly sliced cucumbers, and chopped avocado. 

 

In the early days of quarantine, I had the distinct pleasure of testing recipes for To the Last Bite, a newly published cookbook by Alexis deBoschnek. At the time, so many of us were avoiding frequent grocery runs, and accordingly, my blog recipes were focused on pantry staples.

The crisp, colorful ingredients called for in Alexis’s recipes provided a welcome counterpoint to my focus at the time while speaking to my inner sensibilities—allowing fresh, quality ingredients to shine in deliciously uncomplicated ways. And not wasting anything!

Alexis grew up in the idyllic setting of the Catskill Mountains, whose rolling hills are abundant in livestock and sprawling farms that, in summer, trail green as far as the eye can see. Her mother was a master gardener who lived sustainably before the term was coined, and she taught Alexis how to forage for mushrooms and fly fish, how to grow vegetables, and most importantly, how good those vegetables could taste.

 

 

To the Last Bite author Alexis deBoschnek

Cookbook author Alexis deBoschnek in her element. 

Growing up with two European parents also meant eating salad at the end of every meal–never before or during as Alexis notes. The following salad is typical of those days, and it is one that I have returned to countless times since testing recipes for Alexis’ cookbook.

We enjoy the salad as the main vegetable on our plate and often adorn the greens with a simple protein to transform them into a satisfying entrée.

The secret is the vinaigrette, which allows greens alone to shine. And while I have begun adding ingredients like tomatoes, blue cheese, and occasionally avocado, the beauty is that fresh greens alone are enough.

Alexis’ go-to for the vinaigrette is champagne vinegar. Over time, I’ve begun reaching for sherry vinegar. The former is a touch sweeter, the latter punchier. You could use white wine vinegar. None will disappoint.

Also of note, Alexis relies on minced shallot instead of garlic, which she sprinkles with salt and lets sit for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. This further mellows the flavor–and those tiny specks are such a treat that I seem to use increasingly more each time I prepare the vinaigrette.

I get two large salads or four small out of a single batch of the dressing. You may double the batch if desired, as it will keep in the fridge for a week or more. Simply allow it to come to room temperature and give the jar a good shake.

With a batch on hand, the simple salad can be ready in mere minutes. And like Alexis’s family and now mine, you may find yourself reaching for this salad every day.

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 

A variety of fresh, springtime greens allows this simple salad to shine with greens alone.

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 

For convenient storage, I make the vinaigrette in a jar and get two large or four smaller salads from the half cup yield. If making a salad for a bigger group, you could prepare the dressing in the bottom of a salad bowl, top with the greens, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Just wait to toss the greens until right before serving.

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 

Use the freshest greens you can find. I like a mix of tender and crisp greens, and a variety of colors is nice too. When available, frisée adds a lovely hint of texture and dimension to the salad.

The shallot vinaigrette is the hallmark of this crisp salad, which is versatile enough to pair with nearly any meal and easy enough to enjoy every day! 

And while the punchy vinaigrette allows a simple blend of crisp and tender greens to stand on its own, your favorite veggie, cheese, nut, and seed add-ins are worthy additions. You can even bump the salad up to entree status with the addition of a simple protein, like Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon or Perfect Skillet Chicken.

How much vinaigrette should I use?

As a general rule, I use about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for every 3 cups of greens. This amount lightly coats the greens without weighing them down. With this in mind, one batch of the vinaigrette will be enough to dress two large (4 serving) or four smaller (2 serving) salads.

To the Last Bite, by Alexis deBoschnek

While you now know what’s on page 56 of To the Last Bite (Everyday Green Salad, of course!), you can find this scrumptious galette on page 69. One of my other favorites is the halibut on page 161, which is baked in lots of olive oil, tomatoes, lemon, dill, and shallots. The salad complements both recipes beautifully. For a sweet ending, chocolate chip cookie fans should know that Alexis tested her recipe (page 185) over 20 times! 

Everyday Green Salad
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Yield: ~ ½ cup vinaigrette (enough for eight 1½ cup servings of salad)
As a general rule, I use about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for every 3 cups of greens. This amount lightly coats the greens without weighing them down. With this in mind, one batch of the vinaigrette will be enough to dress two large (4 serving) or four smaller (2 serving) salads.
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (7g) honey
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) champagne vinegar (I used sherry vinegar; white wine vinegar works well too)
  • ¼ cup (56ml) good olive oil
For the salad:
  • 4 to 6 cups mixed greens of choice
  • Optional extras: halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnuts, chopped avocado, sliced cucumbers, or add-ins of choice
Instructions:

Make the vinaigrette: Place the minced shallot in a small bowl or jar and sprinkle with the salt. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour. (The salt mellows the sharpness of the shallot.)

Once the shallot has rested, add the Dijon, pepper, honey, and vinegar, and whisk to combine. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified. Or place the lid on the jar and shake well. The
vinaigrette can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Make the salad: Add the salad greens to the bowl. Greens alone work well, but you may add extras of choice. Right before serving, toss with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves.

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