In my previous post, the herbs and aromatics harvested as part of the daily loot in my backyard were used to prepare my version of Moussaka. Other ingredients I harvested were a good amount of loose-leaf lettuce, and a bunch of cilantro. These two are generally cool weather crops, so once summer temperatures come into play, it is time to kneel down and harvest them all before the plants bolt; cilantro leaves become very wispy and the flavour turns soapy, whilst lettuce turns bitter.
In Mexico, many salads are dressed with a simple vinaigrette consisting of salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, often just canola or corn (yes, as opposed to olive oil), and maybe a pinch of dry oregano; fresh veggies are mostly dressed with lime juice and salt (and chili powder). The original inspiration for my dressing was a basic French vinaigrette that calls for wine vinegar, shallots, Dijon mustard, oil (olive, or apparently French people also might opt for a neutral-tasting oil, such as safflower or colza!), salt and pepper. However, some French friends told me many years ago that they used lemon juice instead of vinegar, and when I was in Mexico, I followed their advice, breaching the rules by using lime juice, which was a nod to Mexican salads (and not really my fault, since lemons are not easily found there). I liked it so much, that it became my staple recipe to pair with any fresh greens. I use extra-virgin olive oil, but over the years, I have decreased the amount, and always skipped the shallots, to showcase the clean flavour of the veggies.
It is important that the greens are washed and perfectly dried, so the dressing will not get washed down or away by residual moisture. I have a veggie spinner to dry my greens; the best features are a crank that makes the spinning very easy, and a large capacity, so a full batch of produce may be cleaned in one shot.
Green Salad with Dijon Dressing with a Mexican Touch –
Ensalada verde con aderezo de Dijon con un toque Mexicano
Ingredients (for four portions)
8-10 cups fresh greens, such as loose-leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, cilantro, etc.; thoroughly washed, drained and dried
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lime juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the clean and dry greens in a large bowl, and reserve until serving time.
In a small bowl, mix Dijon mustard, lime juice and salt, then slowly pour oil in, while continuously mixing. Finish with a couple turns of the black pepper grinder:
Bring greens and dressing to the table, as seen at the top of this post (one of my daughters, who is currently in France!, recently gave me the beautiful ceramic bowl holding the greens.) Toss salad together right before serving, or allow each person to help themselves to the greens and add dressing to their portion, to taste.
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UPDATE: The only ingredient left unused from my harvest of the day was chamomile, called manzanilla in Spanish; click here to visit my post from last year regarding this ingredient, and to prepare the best tisane.
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #494, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.