You may have a few fresh things to toss as a salad – baby greens, radishes, and green onions. If so, you already have superb flavor and texture. Toss the slices and shreds with a simple vinaigrette — nothing fancy. The vinaigrette serves as a finishing oil, pulling together the flavors of each of your salad components.
You might simply have a platter of sliced garden tomatoes or cucumber spears. A drizzling of vinaigrette brightens the flavors while at the same time lending sparkle and texture to your vegetable. A serving of garden tomatoes dressed with vinaigrette shouts “gourmet” without your having to break a sweat.
The same is true with cooked vegetables. Whether they are roasted, steamed, or braised, most vegetables will be more interesting if finished with a vinaigrette. Try this dressing with steamed broccoli or steamed cauliflower. You will be amazed. The effect is rather like a warm salad. Sprinkle on some freshly ground Parmesan cheese and you will be in heaven.
The bottom line secret for making fine vinaigrette is to use the best ingredients you can manage: extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon, fresh herbs, and sea salt. This is not the place to skimp!
Once you get going with vinaigrette dressings, be creative and brave. Try different herbs of your liking and different citrus juices or combinations of juice, like lemon and lime or orange juice. The possibilities are endless.
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