Green salad with vinaigrette pears

This is only fake fancy – trust me, I made it.

Nah, I’m not lying to you folks about what I made, but the picture only gives an illusion of hard work and foiled serviettes. Plus, I think that whenever fruit is added to savoury dishes, it makes it look more elegant*.

So let’s talk salad. As always, I start with chopped romaine because that’s a staple in my fridge. From there, I had a pear I left over from this morning’s breakfast, and wanted to toss it in. Experimenting with different shapes, I decided to slice the pears more or less cross-wise (we shan’t be fussy), but the main thing is to get them thin. I like the crunchy sweetness of Bosc pears, unlike softer varieties like Barlett.

The dressing was where I got a little creative. Instead of drizzling my vinegrette overtop, I thought, Hey, what if we coated the pears in the dressing?’ So in effect, the pears carry the dressing and that way both the fruit and the vinegrette will be well distributed among the salad. Vinaigrette dressing recipe to follow below.

And that’s my big idea. Use the elements of your salad to carry the taste throughout. Coat those pears. Also, I found that the absence of dressing directly poured onto the lettuce made the salad less wet. No one likes a soggy salad, right? Well, at least not me …

Bone-basic vinaigrette dressing

Because it is so very basic, it’s a good thing to splurge on a really good olive oil and a vinegar you really like. Simple and few ingredients means you can focus on quality flavours of each one. I owe this recipe to The Seasoned Spoon, a co-op cafe I volunteered at in my final year of university. I volunteered there mostly because it was useful “participant-observational” research for my thesis about organic food, but along the way I just plain enjoyed chopping up vegetables and learning about roots and herbs. Almost every week, I was assigned to make a salad. Robyn, the girl I worked with, taught me how to make the most basic vinaigrette, and always encouraged tasting and experimenting. What a wild and interesting gal she was too – my shift was on Friday morning, so I ‘d hear about the the art parties and vegan cook-offs she went to the night before. Oh, Trent.

  • 2/3 Fine olive oil (don’t be frugal)
  • 1/3 Balsamic vinegar, or apple cidar vinegar (again, don’t be frugal)
  • Honey or mustard, as these emulsify the vinegar and oil so that your dressing doesn’t separate. Squeeze in as much to taste.
  • Herbs, salt and pepper .. whatever taste you feel like creating!
  • Whisk that whisk, baby!

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*More elegance = Grace Kelly + Audrey Hepburn, oui or non? Oui, is my sustained answer. These ladies have poise, coiffed hair, good hats and always look good in black and white. Who needs 3DTV active-shutter goggles when you’re stunning sans couleurs?

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