Kilvo's Vinaigrette

  • 3 or 4 large garlic cloves (preferably the local blue stuff)
  • ½ level teaspoon of sugar (I know this seems odd!)
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • Heaped teaspoon of English mustard powder
  • 3 tablespoons of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon of raspberry vinegar
  • Large chunk of Feta cheese (about a cup-full)

Crush the garlic and rub around a (preferably wooden) salad bowl extracting as much juice as possible: discard most of the solid stuff unless your friends love garlic. I leave it all. That way they get to enjoy it for days.

Add the sugar, salt, pepper & mustard to the bowl, plus the oils and vinegars, and stir well with the back of your salad spoon until smooth.

Add the cheese and mix it into the dressing (which is a basic vinaigrette at this stage) until you have a smooth repulsive looking mixture which should taste great!

You can vary most of these ingredients to suit yourself. Extra-virgin oil has a very strong flavour so you could use some ordinary olive oil. Similarly with the balsamic vinegar. When I am serving it for kids I tone down the amount of pepper and mustard. Raspberry, blueberry or other fruit vinegars are also great.

Feta cheeses can also be very strongly flavoured so I use a local one which doesn't overpower everything. It comes in tubs (in brine) and keeps well. Taste it at the shop and suit yourself.

Also really nice is a soft blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Castello. And now that Roquefort is available again, you can indulge yourself with it. A dash of sesame oil or good Soya sauce is a nice taste.

I usually use a mixture of leaves, cos, mignonette, butter, coral and so on. Baby spinach and rocket are also good. I usually add chopped olives as well. If you can't get good tomatoes leave them out. Naturally there should be plenty of onion (spring onions, shallots, spanish onion, salad (white) onion).

Remember that water is the enemy of a salad - dry your lettuce properly. A salad spinner was one of the best things I ever bought. And don't toss the lettuce until the very last moment, because the vinegar will burn your salad leaves.


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