The other day I was planning to serve a very rich lasagna, and decided that what I needed to go with the lasagna to help cut through the richness from the meat, the sauce, and the inordinate amount of cheese, was a simple romaine salad with an acidic dressing. Not too acidic you realize, but with just the right amount of acidity. And this simple dressing that I have been making since I first discovered champagne vinegar about 10 years ago, immediately came to mind. It‘s one of those salad dressings that coats lettuce beautifully, without leaving it soggy. So a perfect salad dressing to dress up plain bite sized pieces of romaine.
While I’m on the subject of romaine, I think I’ll take the opportunity to expound on its many virtues. (Sometimes I feel romaine is underrated and not given the credit it’s due! So I intend to set the record straight right now.)
First of all, from a nutritional standpoint, romaine lettuce is a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron, and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, calcium, and pantothenic acid.
Plus, it’s crunchy. (In my book, one of its most redeeming qualities!) And it’s a fairly dark green. (And green is my favorite color. So duh!)
Now I know, many of you are really into the gourmet lettuces. And I understand. I love them too. But when I think salad, I think crunch. And I’m sorry folks, spring mix by itself just does not crunch! Neither does rocket (arugula) or red leaf or any of the other popular soft leaf varieties! And I am still of the school that strongly believes that salad must crunch! To be a proper salad, that is!
So what I am really advocating, in case you haven’t already figured it out, is that romaine lettuce is the bomb! And although you may use other lettuces in your salads as I often do, romaine should still be there to provide that crunchy element necessary to make your all greens salads perfect. (And yes, I love salads with just greens. I also love salads that contain almost all the contents of my refrigerator and pantry. But let’s save that type of salad for another day!)
So if you too love an easy and delicious salad, give this dressing a try. Combined with beautifully perfect bite sized pieces of romaine lettuce, there is just about nothing finer to serve with a rich main dish. Honestly, I promise that you will not miss your darling little leaves of gourmet lettuce. You will also love the fact that you have not spent your paycheck to enjoy a salad that has nutritional value and tastes like it was prepared by the chef at Canlis!
So have fun with this dressing. It is almost fool proof and can be dressed up in any way you choose. Add it to a mixed vegetable salad, a kale and blue cheese salad, or on top of your favorite Cobb salad. Just make it. It’s easy, inexpensive, and perfect. Enjoy!
- 3 T. champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- romaine lettuce or a variety of lettuces including romaine
In a small bowl or covered jar, whisk or shake together vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the olive oil and either whisk or shake until the liquid is emulsified. Adjust seasoning. Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before adding to greens of your choice.