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Dress your greens

Caretaker Farm salad greens
Three Dressings for Mesclun Salad Mix

As a rule of thumb: 1/2 a pound mesclun serves 4-6 people; a large handful is about 2 ounces.

— Classic Vinaigrette  in a Jar
— Serious Garlic Dressing
— My Favorite No-Recipe Dressing

Classic Vinaigrette in a Jar

The flavor is classic but the technique is All-American: just add and shake. This mild salad dressing lets the mesclun shine through. The recipe makes enough vinaigrette to dress a large salad (l-1-1/4 pounds) for 8-l0 servings. For smaller salads,

Add enough just to lightly coat the leaves. Always shake well before use to re-emulsify the dressing. Left-over dressing are great to keep on hand for quality salads in a flash. Or enjoy left- over dressed salad on a baguette with fresh local tomatoes. A soggy delight!

Classic Vinaigrette in a Jar:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
about l small shallot minced (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Dijon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake vigorously. Use about a scant tablespoon per serving, or just to coat. Always shake before using.


Serious Garlic Dressing for Mesclun

This will dress about l/2 pound of mesclun, serving 4-6,  and is best used right after it is made. It is also tasty on bitter greens, like escarole.

4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon balsamic
2 tablespoons olive oil

l. Using a fork, very coarsely mash the kosher salt together on a small plate. Stir in the vinegar and then the oil.

2. Add the mesclun to a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the greens, using the fork to prevent the garlic from falling in. Toss and serve immediately.

 My Favorite No-Recipe Dressing

The original Italian dressing is so simple it isn’t really a recipe, but it may also be the best salad dressing there is, so I can’t leave it out! The only catch is that you shouldn’t really skimp on lousy ingredients, which should be no problem if you use local greens.

1-Toss the greens in the quality olive oil (hopefully one that smells of olives) and a generous pinch of kosher or sea salt just to coat.

2-Then think of the vinegar like the vermouth in a very dry martini (less is more): just wave the bottle over the greens, adding just a little touch of red wine vinegar,  balsamic, or  balsamic mixed with red wine vinegar. A second toss…that’s it.

3-Adjust with extra salt if needed, but don’t add pepper unless there are no peppery greens in the mix.

American cheat: If you have a great olive oil on hand and love the taste of balsamic, but only have supermarket balsamic in your pantry, you can cheat and I won’t tell. Imitate quality balsamic by mixing it with a tiny pinch of brown sugar—American heresy, but it works.

g-mex amy irrigated field





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