Champagne vinegar is considered the “king of vinegars” in France as it is incomparably smooth, subtle, and light. It makes a great choice for dressing up delicately flavored salads using ingredients that are fresh, ripe and in season. In the early spring, blanched asparagus and spring strawberries make a perfect match. A buttery avocado also makes a nice addition! In summer months, this salad dressing is wonderful with baby greens, blueberries and raspberries, topped with toasted almonds.
I’m a firm believer that a salad is only as good as its ingredients and that what really separates a good salad and from a superb salad is the dressing. Creating your own fresh and healthy dressing is much easier than you possibly imagined. First and foremost, the key to any great dressing is good quality ingredients. Since most dressings only contain a handful of ingredients, it pays to invest in a quality olive oil and vinegar. I am quite far from being an aficionado, but I there is definitely a difference!
Champagne vinegar is also a great accompaniment to almond or truffle oil – if you want to create a simple, yet elegant vinaigrette! Just add enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. A general rule of thumb is a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar.
Tender Greens in a Champagne Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 6 handfuls of baby mesclun greens (125 g)
- 1 bunch of asparagus, blanched and cut into 2 cm pieces (500 g)
- strawberries, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (165 ml)
- 3 tablespoons of French Champagne vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine egg yolk, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk together until well blended and smooth.
Add the oil, season with salt and pepper and whisk together until completely blended.
In a large bowl, add the mixed greens, asparagus, strawberries and avocado (if using). Toss with the dressing to gently to coat the leaves. Divide among four small plates and serve immediately.
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