As in most cooking, the best ingredients yield the best results and will make a world of difference to the taste and consistency I urge you to seek out the aged, imported vinegars, the really fruity, good-quality olive oil, and so on. Also, the quantities should be approached as loose ones, so you should adjust them to your taste. Once you’ve made it multiple times you’ll get a feel for how it should taste before adding any oil, and you won’t even need to measure.
The chopped salad is just a grab bag of any veggies you have on hand, but the more variety in taste, color, and texture the better. All the ones I've listed are optional or can be substituted. If you are prepping it more than a couple of hours in advance, you’ll need to keep certain ones out till right before such as cucumber, which tends to get a little weepy or cherry tomatoes because tomatoes should never, ever, go in the fridge—it ruins their taste.
- 6 asparagus, peeled and chopped
- 5 spears broccolini, or ½ head regular broccoli, stems peeled, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red and or white cabbage
- 2-3 carrots (different colors if available), sliced thin then julienned
- 1 yellow beet, sliced thin then julienned
- ½ cup fresh peas from the pod
- ½ cup sugar snap peas, sliced across into 3-4 pieces
- 3-4 stalks celery, sliced across into ½” pieces, plus celery leaves
- 2 white purple skinned kohlrabi, sliced thin and julienned
- 4 radishes, cut in half then sliced into half moons
- 2 Persian cucumbers, cut in half then sliced into half moons
- 1-2 hot red peppers, seeded and chopped fine
- ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar (preferably Spanish)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (the more aged the better)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup walnut oil
- 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together vinegars, honey, mustard salt and pepper, and let sit for a few minutes to allow flavors to meld, and salt to dissolve. I usually do this before I start the salad, then come back to it afterwards.
Slowly drizzle in ½ of the walnut oil while whisking continuously. You want to emulsify the oil so that it’s completely mixed with the vinegar and won’t separate. Then do the same with the olive oil. Once the dressing starts to thicken, you can begin adding the oil more quickly in a slow stream, but stopping periodically to make sure it’s fully blended. Continue adding in the rest of the walnut and olive oil.
Taste the dressing for balance, seasoning, etc. If it’s too bland add in more vinegar. Too sour? It may need more oil, more honey, or both.
Store in a lidded jar for up to 2 weeks.
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle approximately ¼ cup dressing on salad and toss well. Add more dressing as desired, season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow salad to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.