When I entertain, the choice of salad is usually a no-brainer for me: Pear, Gorgonzola and walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Done.
That's pretty much the recipe. But this past time around, I was under the impression that my dressing had gone bad (actually, it was just too cold) and I needed to make my own balsamic. Luckily, I had a bottle of Balsamic vinegar stashed away that typically only makes an appearance when I need a quick way to dress up a side vegetable (try it! It's also a great way to deglaze a chicken pan). Now, it wasn't a bottle of the Cinnamon Pear Balsamic or the Honey Ginger White Balsamic I tried at Garces Trading Company the other night with Nina, but it was good.
You wouldn't be wrong to assume that dressing or vinaigrette is just oil and vinegar. In fact, you can even use just vinegar. But this recipe uses Dijon, which is one of my all-time favorite ingredients. Actually, one of best tricks for a vegetable side (write this down) is to make a vinaigrette from red wine vinegar, olive oil and Dijon, along with any herb you might have on hand, and toss it on green beans. It's also great on pasta, especially with basil.
Feel free to up the amount of balsamic, as I did.
Balsamic Vinaigrette makes about 3/4 of a cup
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 garlic clove, minced 1/2 cup olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.