december 30, 2016
After all that holiday creaminess, all that sweetness, all that indulgence, I’ll bet you have vowed to eat more salads in the coming new year. Salads are the perfect meal for improvisation, whether you are cleaning the fridge or cleaning the cabinets – think olives, dried fruits, bits of cheese, toasted nuts and seeds – and they deserve the best dressings. And the very best dressings are the ones you make at home.
Homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes are good keepers. Made ahead, most will keep for weeks until you are ready to anoint your salad creations with flavorful “salad sauces”. Whether you like creamy or sweet or vinaigrettes with a pronounced vinegar tang, salad sauces are easy to make in jars or food processors, or with a simple whisk action like today’s vinaigrette.
Citrus is in season and is the tart acid in this dressing. A little Dijon mustard helps with emulsification and gives more heft in coating sturdy greens. Finely minced shallot makes your mouth happy, but if you have an aversion to all things onion, it can be omitted. The crowning glory of this dressing is pomegranate seeds, plentiful in winter and conveniently found in tiny little cups at the grocery if you haven’t the patience for peeling and manipulating a whole fruit.
I used a neutral oil in this recipe (organic canola works well), but if you like extra virgin olive oil, this can be substituted; just keep in mind that your dressing will solidify in the fridge and need a rest at room temperature before adding to salads. The olive oil may also give a distinct olive flavor and aroma and my preference is for a neutral palette to let the greens shine.
Lemon Pomegranate Vinaigrette
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 8 ounces
juice of one large lemon
2 generous teaspoons Dijon mustard (creamy, not grainy)
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of ground white pepper
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
6 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
⅓ cup fresh pomegranate seeds (arils)
- In medium size metal or glass mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper and shallot.
- To keep bowl steady while adding oil, place kitchen towel under bowl, nesting bowl snuggly among the folds for a good grip.
- Whisk oil into lemon mix in steady stream until nicely emulsified.
- Add pomegranate seeds – the more you stir this mix, the more you will see a pretty red color as the seeds bruise and release their pigment.
- Vinaigrette will keep for several weeks in the fridge – shake or stir again before using.