A New Spring Salad Dressing

Turkey Celery Wide

I did something this year I’ve been wanting to do for a quite a few years. Back in March, on a particularly warm day, we prepped our garden boxes and then filled them with all sorts of cool weather seeds: lettuce, arugula, beets, radishes, spinach, onions, fennel, garlic, and peas. Every day, I’ve been watching and waiting to see if I’ve finally become a good enough gardener to get these little seeds to grow. Well, they came up, and they are beautiful. We have buttercrunch lettuce and arugula that just keeps coming and coming, so we’ve been eating salad after salad. This is a new favorite dressing for these salads that I got from the terrific cookbook called The Food Lab. It’s simply delicious, and makes a it easy to throw anything and still have great flavor, but one of my favorites has been arugula, lettuce, celery, turkey, and sunflower seeds or cooked wheatberries. 

Balsamic-Soy Vinaigrette

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. olive oil
a small shallot, minced or grated on a microplane
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
4 t. dijon mustard
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 t. salt for me, and a few shakes of pepper)

Combine all ingredients together in a glass jar, shake well to emulsify, and then resupply yourself in three days, since you will want it every lunch and dinner! It will keep for up to three months in your fridge, if you find yourself not wanting it quite as often as I do.

Balsamic Bread Salad

Tomato Bread Salad
This salad started as a riff on a date salad from the great cookbook Jerusalem, but has become a nightly addition to the dinner table for the last two weeks. My husband and I surprised ourselves by eating an entire large bowl full the first night I made it, and he told me at the end of the meal, “why don’t we just have this for dinner every night?” So, we kind-of have, at least for now. It’s simple and versatile and comes together in a matter of minutes–just how I want a green salad to be.

Balsamic Bread Salad

1 head of lettuce, either Romaine or buttercrunch work nicely
12 or so cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly
about 1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese (feta works nicely)
2-3 slices of day-old country bread, or broken pitas, or whatever other bread you have
2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (optional)
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
a handful of nuts (pine nuts or sliced almonds)
a handful of shredded basil leaves would be delicious, too

Wash and tear your lettuce to the size you like (I tear small because I think it’s more enjoyable to eat it that way). Place in a medium-sized bowl, adding the cherry tomatoes, and then salt and pepper it all reasonably. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high, then add the butter and oil until melted. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add the bread and nuts, if using, and cook, stirring continually, until browned to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Once the bread and nuts have cooled, add to the salad. Splash with balsamic vinegar and some more salt and pepper. Serve immediately, before the bread gets soggy, adding a little more oil, if desired.