Warm temperatures and rapidly melting snow means we are shifting to seasonal spring and summer foods. I don’t know about you, but visiting a local farmers market makes me feel like a kid in a candy store! The Vail Farmers Market starts on June 18th – and boy am I excited! Walking past all of the fresh and vibrant fruits and veggies, I can’t help but pick up a few goodies to take home and create wonderful dishes. One thing I learned about farmers markets is to go in with an open mind. Don’t have a recipe or specific dish in mind; rather, pick up what looks fresh and delicious to you.
While there are so many beautiful dishes you can make with your farmers market bounty, a simple salad seems to be a quick go to on warm spring days. Before you reach for that bottle of grocery store bought dressing filled with who knows what, let me share with you how to make a simple vinaigrette. I promise you may never reach for that bottle of goop again! It’s really so simple and you can “dress” it up to your liking. While there are steadfast culinary ratios for making a vinaigrette, it really is subjective to your palate so, don’t be afraid to veer from these guidelines. Some people prefer a 3:1 (oil to vinegar/acid) ratio while others favor a 2:1 (oil to vinegar/acid) ratio. Play with the portions and find what works for you and your family.
3 or 2 parts Neutral Oil (grapeseed, canola, sunflower, etc.) or Olive Oil
1 or 2 parts Vinegar/Acid (sherry, red wine, apple cider, balsamic, rice etc.)
Season to taste (see what I did there?!) with salt and pepper
What they would tell you in culinary school is to whisk the vinegar, salt and pepper (and other non-oil ingredients) into a bowl until well combined. Then, slowly drizzle in the oil in order to emulsify the vinaigrette. However, don’t tell my chef instructor, but you can just take an empty container with a secure lid (I save glass jars) pour all the ingredients into the jar and shake it like a Polaroid picture!
That’s all! Really! Put any leftovers in your fridge and use for about a week. Make sure you take the dressing out about 30 minutes before you use it as the oil will coagulate in the fridge. As long as you’re making extra vinaigrette for the week, you might as well chop extra veggies and lettuce so you have a go to salad every day as well!
Other variations and ideas to try:
- Puree some fresh raspberries for a raspberry vinaigrette
- Add in chopped fresh oregano and basil for an herb vinaigrette
- Citrus – of any kind!
- Add in Dijon mustard and honey – this is my go to with a little squeeze of lemon added as well
- Blanch some garlic and add along with some plain Greek yogurt for a creamy garlic vinaigrette
- Bacon?! Who doesn’t love bacon? A warm bacon vinaigrette is simply delicious
- Add pureed carrots and fresh ginger
- Play with the type of vinegar you use – you will be amazed at how simple of a change can drastically change the flavor
What are your favorite farmers market finds and dishes you create?