I got another book from the library “Salad for Dinner” by Tasha De Serio because I love salads. This book promises salads that can make a meal. After flipping through the book I realised anything goes in a salad. You can basically put anything you like, which includes meat, lentils, chick peas, pasta, other than the obvious greens. Making a vinaigrette basically consists of mixing oil and an acid. But I did pick up some useful tips. One of them is to leave the garlic and salt in the acid for a few minutes before adding the oil and whisking.
The most useful suggestion was the one on peeling oranges. Since I had such great difficulty peeling them for the last salad I made, I seized on this tip. First, cut off the orange skin and subsequently cut out the inside between the “skin” instead of peeling it off.
The book also had basic recipes which I’ll reproduce here.
Recipe for basic vinaigrette
- (makes about 1/4 cup) or enough for 4 leafy salads
- 1 tbsp vinegar, lemon juice or a combination
- kosher salt
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil or a combination of oils
Combine the vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Taste and add more salt if needed. Whisk in 3 tbsp of the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste and if too acidic, add the remaining oil. To make mustard vinaigrette, add 1 tsp Dijon mustard to the vinegar and salt mixture.
Recipe for rustic croutons
- About ½ pound chunk of peasant-style bread or levain, preferably day-old
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Makes enough for 6 salads
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, trim the crust from the bread, and cut into ½ to ¾-inch-wide slices. Cut each slice into ½ to ¾-inch-wide strips, and then tear the strips into ½ to ¾-inch rustic cubes. Put the bread on a baking sheet and toss lightly with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Spread the bread out to an even layer, and season lightly with salt. Bake until crisp and light golden brown outside and tender inside, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool on the sheet pan.