Building blocks, Weeknight dinner
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Lemon Herb Dressing


This is my new favorite vinaigrette. I love the mediterranean combination of lemon and olive oil. I think it’s the most verstaile dressing I make – it goes well with a wide range of vegetables, from salads, to potatoes, to shredded carrots, to green beans. It’s the dressing for Salad Nicoise, Greek Salad, and Carottes Rapees; all you do is vary the herbs you use.

Recipe: Lemon Herb Dressing



See the Vinaigrette Basic Technique (here) for an overview

Ingredients:
*For a pound each of boiled new potatoes and green beans, or a 10 oz bag romaine lettuce (about 3 quarts)

  • Juice of 1 lemon (should be about 2 to 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (from the lemon you just juiced)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 6 tbsp (1/3 cup plus a little) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Herbs: 1 tbsp, minced, of any combination of the following:

  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano


Directions: Easy Way
1. Whisk to blend: Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until creamy.*
*Note: Because you don’t have the mustard to act as a binder, you need to whisk hard for this to emulsify. Don’t worry if it doesn’t; it still tastes great. If you’re the kind of person who worries, go with the finesse recipe, below.

OR:

Directions: With Finesse
1. Dissolve the salt and sugar: Whisk the salt, sugar, pepper, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl until the salt and sugar dissolve, usually about 10 seconds.

2. Add the oil slowly: Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking until creamy and emulsified.

3. Add the herbs: Add the minced herbs, and whisk to combine.


Variations:
*Herbs – Any herb would go well here. In addition to the list above, I’ve made this with tarragon and mint.
*Dried Herbs – fresh are preferable, but if all you have are dried, use half the quantity listed above (total 1 1/2 tsp), and let them sit in the lemon juice for a few minutes to rehydrate before adding the olive oil. I do this a lot when I’m making Greek salad; I’ve never had luck with growing fresh oregano, so I usually wind up using dried oregano.

Notes:
*This vinaigrette is the based on the one for Nicoise Salad – toss some romaine lettuce, boiled green beans and boiled new potatoes in this dressing, and serve with Excellent Canned Tuna, nicoise olives and hard boiled eggs.
*Or, it’s Greek salad dressing – use oregano as the only herb. (That’s a recipe I’ll share another day.)
*I also love this with Carrottes Rapees, a French grated carrot salad (see here for David Lebovitz’ great post on this recipe)
*This dressing is hard to emulsify – as you can see in the picture with the whisk, it’s already starting to separate. You can (as usual) add a little dijon mustard, but for this dressing I prefer to just live with it separating. I make the dressing, set it aside, then give it an extra whisking right before tossing the salad with it.
*I like the sweet/sour combination of the lemon with a little sugar. Depending on what you’re using it with, a little extra sugar (as much as 2tsp) goes well.

Inspired by:
Cook’s Illustrated – Nicoise Salad recipe

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Filed under: Building blocks, Weeknight dinner

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Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says

    Recipe sounds delicious! I’m going to try it ASAP. Here’s a tip that’ll save your whisking arm but hit your finesse score: go James Bond on your dessing. Pop your ingredients into a jar or bottle and shake vigorously to emulsify. Works just fine for my balsamic vinaigrette home brew.

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