I have this friend, Rachel, and she makes some seriously delicious salads. I don’t know how she does it, but everytime she comes over for some event, with a salad in hand, it turns out to be this amazing concoction of nonsense in a bowl with lettuce and I’m always amazed.
I am not the word’s best salad maker. Not even close. My childhood was not rife with salad, and I only have these vague memories of iceberg lettuce, green peppers and cucumbers on a plate with some vinegary dressing. Which was always awful. Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually really like salad. I do. And I’ve tried. Oh, I’ve tried a thousand times to make great salads, you know the ones: they have 45 hard-to-find-ingredients and an 80 step process to make the dressing that involves fermentation and prayers, but for the most part my salads are fails. I mean, how can you fail at salads, amiright??? But I do. I fail and fail and fail. If you are an amazing salad maker, then I am totally jealous of your salad dedication (and am potentially the one throwing pieces of lettuce at you when you’re not looking). I just can’t seem to get fancy salads happening for me.
But here’s the sad truth. It’s not the recipes. It’s me. I’m a lazy, LAY-ZEEE salad maker. I can’t be bugged hauling a million ingredients out of the fridge and fiddle around with radish roses or toasting nuts or making dressings that involve complicated steps and ingredients. This is the shame I carry.
Instead, I have always been a proponent of the trés chic French salad of mesclun mix with a lovely vinaigrette. Sweet and simple. That’s a salad I can get my brain around! Toss some lovely, delicate greens in a bowl with a two or three ingredient dressing, give it a light toss, and done. The French: they are my kind of salad people! When my husband and I were in Paris, we ate salad everywhere we went. That love of simple salads was rekindled in my soul. I ate it up, literally, and came home with a burning desire to create a staple salad dressing that would be my go-to. Like on those hot summer days when the last thing I want to do is prepare dinner, or on those busy weekday nights when the last thing I want to do is prepare dinner (sensing a trend here??). I wanted to make something that could pair with some fresh mixed greens, but could also easily transition into a overloaded, ultra-fancy, superfood laden salad extrordenaire, that I may one day feel inspired to make (miracles happen, people!). It also had to be easy. Because let’s face it: not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty good at doing easy. Wait…does that sound weird?!
A call for a salad dressing staple: My Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette!
I think everyone should have one homemade dressing in their culinary arsenal. One that’s super quick and easy to make, one that you can memorize the ingredients to, and one that you love the flavour of. A dressing you can turn to in a pinch, like last minute dinner guests or hectic weeknight dinner throw togethers. My Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette fits that criteria. Plus, I haven’t gotten sick of it so far, which is a plus.
I have been really happy with the results of this dressing, and although it won’t magically turn my salads into Rachel’s masterpieces, it definitely perks up my everyday salad (which may or may not be just some greens and a couple of cucumber chunks).
Happy Salad Days!