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Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Tis the Season

It's almost the end of a four-day weekend, and last night as I went to bed I wondered I had a four-day weekend?  Really?  What happened to it?

Well, I got Inspecting Carol open to a sold-out house on Friday and a rave review that appeared online yesterday.  I couldn't be prouder of my hard-working cast and crew, particularly with the obstacles we encountered in the rehearsal process.

However, I'm feeling that usual start-of-holidays stress, which is probably multiplied by my not getting my usual amount of exercise over the last few weeks.  I'm resolving to spend the next few weeks getting lots of exercise (remember that promise about getting back to cross-country skiing?) and eating healthy.

'tis the season for food landmines for those of us trying to watch what we eat.  I did my share of eating unhealthy things over the last couple of days, but lately I've also fallen back in love with salad.  I'm not talking about iceberg lettuce and out-of-season tomatoes here, but composed salads with tangy homemade dressings and satisfying accompaniments. 

I made one of my favorite salads to take to Thanksgiving dinner, where it was decimated, perhaps because it seemed like the virtuous choice on the table.  As I try to eat healthfully over the next month, this salad dressing will be appearing on the table often.  Although my preference is to plate the salad individually, I dressed it in a large salad bowl for Thanksgiving and it didn't lose anything other than its composed prettiness.

I've used this dressing with baby arugula, a mixture of seasonal baby greens and an herb salad mixture.  It worked beautifully with all of them.  This recipe will provide ample side salads for four to six people.

Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette
Adapted from the Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton

1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1.5 tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1 tbsp. fresh-ground pepper

For the salad:

2 oz. thinly shaved pecorino romano cheese
8 cups salad greens
Maldon flaked sea salt, or other good finishing salt

First, marinate the shallots in the acids by placing them in a small bowl with the lemon juice and vinegar.  Stir and allow to sit for at least ten minutes.

Drizzle in the oil slowly, whisking thoroughly.  This dressing emulsifies when it is thoroughly mixed.  Add the salt and pepper and whisk it in, then taste and add more seasoning as necessary.

Add the greens to a large salad bowl and add the dressing bit by bit, tossing with your hands to combine.  You will want to add just enough dressing to thinly coat the leaves, but not leave dressing sitting in the bottom of the bowl.  Add a good pinch of the sea salt and toss again.

Thanksgiving's big communal salad
Mound the greens on individual salad plates if desired, and top with a few thin shavings of the pecorino cheese.

The salad individually plated a few weeks ago at home.

You will have a substantial amount of leftover dressing, which easily keeps for a week in the refrigerator.


  1. This sounds so good. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. This looks gorgeous! I love lemon vinaigrette, but have never added shallots. Sounds like a wonderful dressing :)

  3. Looks comforting and delicious! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a wonderful celebration with family, friends and delicious meals too:).

  4. This looks perfect and am sure it tasted absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing! A great dressing idea is always welcome. :)

  5. thanks for sharing on the vinaigrette as salads are part of my meals, instead at times just the only one I have for dinner. Will try out this the next time around I have salad.

  6. Nice to hear you had a sold-out house! Very satisfying. I am thinking this would go well with my turkey soup tonight. Pumpkin in the pumpkin pie doesn't seem to count as a vegetable. Time to incorporate more before those "landmines" come visiting.

  7. Congratulations on a successful opening night!! And I'm going to jump on the exercise and healthy eating bandwagon with you. I have too many Christmas goodies to bake that I have to balance them out with some salads and veggies. Your dressing looks like a great place to start~

  8. I love easy vinaigrettes and this one sounds delicious. I will be trying it soon! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. Congrats to the rave reviews on your play. Well done! I think most of us food bloggers could use some extra care with all the cooking and baking we do. I especially find myself sitting at the computer or in the kitchen instead of exercising. I wish there were more hours in the day. Looks like a great vinaigrette. I almost bought the Mozza cookbook during a cyber sale on Monday..Now I may need to go get it.

  10. Fantastic vinaigrette :) Perfect for a healthy holiday salad! And congrats on opening night!


  11. The vinaigrette does have a wonderful pairing of flavors, definitely a must try.
    Nice to see that the play kicked off with a great opening night, Congrats.

  12. I love citrus dressing. Sure wish I could get you some of my frozen Meyer Lemon juice, it would be perfect in this recipes :)
    Congrats on a great opening night!!!!

  13. I love your photography of this. I'm a huge salad fan--great salads are hard to get right.

    I'm trying this tonight.

    Thanks so much for posting this.