Bon Appétit (June 2013)
We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about vinaigrettes.
Because we have so many salad greens at our disposal right now, from the garden and our CSA, almost every night we do the vinaigrette hokey-pokey: you put a little of this in a jar, a little of that in a jar, and then you shake it all about.
Our basic vinaigrette tip: Use a basic ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. If it doesn't taste good, just keep adding ingredients until it does. Eventually, you'll get there (or you'll need to find a bigger jar).
With vinaigrette on the brain, we were very pleased with the one on this Strawberry, Almond and Pea Salad. It's a simple mix of white wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, poppy seeds, sugar and vegetable oil. It's unlike our typical vinaigrettes, which are darker and heavier. It's really a simple, sweet poppy seed dressing. (Normally, we're not huge poppy seed dressing fans. The store-bought varieties can tend to be off-puttingly sweet. But we adored this one. Perhaps because it's paired with such amazing flavors.)
You may have issues sourcing ingredients for this salad, but there are easy substitutions (or omissions) that can be made. The recipe calls for Marcona almonds, but we couldn't find any. Instead, we subbed in plain, blanched almonds that we purchased in the baking aisle of our supermarket. We're sure Marcona almonds would be great in this, but we still loved our plain old almonds.
The salad also calls for pea tendrils, which is an ingredient we have in abundance, both growing in our backyard and available at our farmers market. If you can't get pea tendrils, just leave them out. The rest of the salad is so good, you won't miss them. (Ours, by the way, from our backyard, were a bit too tough in parts -- lesson learned.)
And now, as we're writing this, we see that we also omitted the Parmesan shavings -- they are absent from the photograph. That, friends, is just an error on our part.
We guess you'll have to try the salad with the Parmesan and let us know what you think.
Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
We were unable to find Marcona almonds and instead subbed in plain, blanched almonds that we purchased in the baking aisle of our supermarket.
If you're unable to find pea tendrils, we think you'll still love this salad.
Ingredients1/2 cup Marcona almonds
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
3 cups baby arugula or watercress, thick stems trimmed
8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 2 cups)
1 cup pea tendrils
1 ounce Parmesan, shaved
Marcona almonds are available at natural foods and specialty foods stores. Pea tendrils, also called pea shoots, can be found at Asian markets, farmers' markets, and natural foods stores.
PreparationPreheat oven to 350°. Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk vinegar, mustard, poppy seeds, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper.
Cook peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes for fresh peas, or 2 minutes for frozen. Drain; transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Drain.
Add arugula, strawberries, pea tendrils, peas, and almonds to vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with Parmesan.