Vegetable Salad with Vinaigrette

18 Apr

Alice took me to the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne for cooking supplies for our day of cooking. Have I mentioned how much I love fresh markets like this? Have I mentioned how much I love farm fresh vegetables? Remember this picture?

It was fantastic! Just the place to pick up all the necessary vegetables to make my Dad’s cold steamed vegetable salad. He would make this salad for special dinners. It’s a bit different from most leafy green salads as you can use whatever is in season, including root vegetables, but everything is steamed then chilled before being dressed with a simple vinaigrette dressing. It makes for a very dramatic presentation as well, a beautiful addition to any nice dinner.

I picked up some beautiful vegetables from Keegan, the green grocer at Fresh Generation, just a bit of whatever looked nice. I tried to get some vegetables that would taste good steamed and whose colors looked nice together. We picked out some zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets (beetroot) and potatoes. I peeled and trimmed them in preparation for the steamer.

Into the steam bath they went, a few at a time.

I finished slicing some of them, then mounded them on a large serving platter and put them in the refrigerator to chill.

Before serving, I whisked together some red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard,  some finely chopped red onion with salt and pepper then drizzled it over the mounded vegetables.

A few farm fresh hard boiled eggs sliced onto the top completed the platter.

It was a great hearty and healthy dish befitting a nice relaxed dinner with friends.

Steamed Vegetable Salad

Steam the vegetables of your choice – some of the best vegetables for this salad include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets (beetroot), potatoes, green beans, chayote squash or chuchu if you’re Brazilian. I believe that every time my Dad made this dish, he included different things, a bit of whatever happened to be in season at the time.

Steam vegetables just until barely softened, as you want a little bit of crunch to remain. Cut them into bite sized pieces and chill. Mound onto a serving platter, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Basic Vinaigrette
3/4 cup of nice extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until combined. Pour over vegetables.

You can make an endless combination of flavors with this one general recipe. You need to start with base of a 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, for example, 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Then you can add fresh herbs such as tarragon, oregano or rosemary which all go very nicely with the vegetables, or you can chop up some onion or shallots very fine and whisk them in and you can add Dijon mustard with salt and pepper.  You can vary the vinegar, if for instance, you have a nice fruit infused vinegar or balsamic vinegar, use that. You can use regular salad oil or a little sesame oil for an Asian flair. The sky’s the limit! Have fun creating a flavor you will enjoy.

4 Responses to “Vegetable Salad with Vinaigrette”

  1. pnutski 10/05/2012 at 4:34 am #

    OK mental note – DO NOT whisk vinegarette in a blender type machine because it makes it all creamy like a mayonnaise.

    • Alice 10/05/2012 at 8:17 pm #

      Ohhhh but that sounds good!

      • pnutski 10/05/2012 at 8:39 pm #

        Its not bad but you either need to adjust the amount of red wine vinegar (or I didnt put enough olive oil in since I just guestimated that part) because the red wine vinegar is quite strong in it. Im not sure how to counter that – should I add more dijon?

  2. Brenda 10/05/2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Add a little more olive oil to the mix or even a splash of water to mellow the flavor a little.

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