But seriously, while there are some greens that I enjoy just munching straight out of the garden (sorrel not among them), I really do prefer to have my greens dressed for dinner. I don’t want them in some ready to wear bottled fashion, I want them in a simple silky vinaigrette that I’ve shaken up in a mason jar just before serving. My greens need to be dressed in an appropriate balance of sweet and salt, savory and sour. It seems that a simple combination of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil with just a little salt and pepper can glam up a bowl of greens in just such a way. So well, in fact, that I’ve included a “recipe” card in this post that you can use as a starting point. And do note that, the better the balsamic, the better the vinaigrette.

Please do, though, take the following “recipe” as a mere starting point for all manner of fashion that can be derived from a simple bit of sweet, salt, acid and oil. Do not refrain from including any manner of herb or allium, salt or sweet that you might have handy. Nor should you refrain from experimenting with all manner of vinegars, and different types of oil, or perhaps even leaving the oil out entirely. You should also experiment with including mustards, bottled or powdered, because that really is standard in all vinaigrette. But never, ever, leave out a little Salt and Pepper. These are flavor standards for a reason, elevating a simple bowl of arugula to Arugula Salad, the s&p I mean. Do please consider using bacon grease once or twice, warm of course, in a vinaigrette, to wilt a bowl of spinach.

Just this morning I took a mixture of garden greens from the refrigerator: mustard greens, radish tops, red russian kale, broccoli rabe leaves and concocted an amazing Cod salad for my husband. The vinaigrette for this salada included just a bit of honey, a tiny grate of garlic, a champagne vinegar seasoned with apple and sage that had been ignored for 8 months in my pantry. I included a generous dollop of seedy dijon mustard, a drizzle of oil, a little s&p, a shake in a jar, and atop a simply seared piece of cod and greens it went.

Yesterday I used the last of my Raspberry Balsamic (Raspberries left to steep in Balsamic Vinegar for about 8 months and forgotten about in the pantry), about a 1/4 cups worth, shaken with about a tablespoon of mustard, one grated garlic clove, a heavy tablespoon of honey, a handful of poppy seeds, a 1/4 cup of olive oil and a bit of s&p. I poured this over spinach, threw on a handful of pine nuts, tossed around a bit, sprinkled on a little more s&p and got rave reviews from my fam.

A Lemon and Thyme Vinaigrette ain’t too shabby. I load a jar up with a with squeezed juice from a lemon, strip thyme into it, add a Tablespoon or so of chopped shallot, a little sprinkle of yellow mustard powder, a splash of maple syrup, a little s&p, a good shake, and voila! Great over lentils, fish or greens.

But a super basic balsamic and oil dressing is where it really is at for me. So, here ya go…

Super Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Recipe by Donata


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  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon mustard

  • Dash salt

  • Pinch pepper


  • Whisk all together and drizzle sparingly over salad. The better the balsamic, the better the vinaigrette.

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