Fresh veggies and vinaigrettes a perfect match

Published 10:48 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Bless This Spoon

By Stephanie Williams Dean


Lighten things up a bit with a harvest of fresh produce from the garden.

Whether served cold or with warm vinaigrette, fresh vegetables are hot right now – so stock your pantry with fresh oils and new varieties of vinegar. An essential element for vinaigrette, oil paired with vinegar perfectly enhances all fresh vegetables. Having a rich and full-bodied aroma and flavor, the best quality olive oil has an exquisite taste and is regarded as the finest culinary oil, especially for salad vinaigrettes.

No longer burdened by mayonnaise – your salads will thank you.


4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Fresh ground pepper to taste

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

8 diced scallions

8 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Blend lemon juice, oil, and pepper. Toss with sliced tomatoes, scallions, and cheese. Serves 8.


6 Tbsp. light olive oil

2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. anchovy paste

2 crushed cloves of garlic

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

2 lbs. small new potatoes

Mix oil, vinegar, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, and rosemary. Remove a narrow strip of peeling around diameter of each potato. Boil potatoes until tender with fork. Drain. Toss with dressing and serve warm. Serves 8.


1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 lb. whole green beans

Mix soy, oils, seeds, and pepper. Boil the beans in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Toss with dressing.


2 lbs. fresh small whole beets

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. hazelnut or walnut oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

Cut tops off beets. Steam until tender about 35 minutes. Cool and peel.  Whisk ingredients together and pour over whole warm beets. Makes ½ cup dressing.


Baby peeled carrots


Snow peas

Green beans

Baby sweetcorn


Cauliflower florets

Cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp. salted butter

Choose at least six different small vegetables that vary in color and shape. Cook each vegetable separately by steaming or boiling until just tender. Drain and set the color by rinsing immediately with cold water. Drain well. To serve, reheat by steam and toss with 2 Tbsp. butter. Toss with 3 Tbsp. of the dressing. Garnish with fresh herbs.


1 cup olive oil

4 Tbsp. wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.


¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1Tbsp. light brown sugar

¼ cup melted salted butter

1 tsp. kosher salt

6 medium peeled, cubed sweet potatoes

Fresh ground black pepper

Cut potatoes into 1 ¼ inch pieces. In a skillet, bring vinegar and sugar to boil until dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add melted butter and salt. Add potato pieces and toss to coat. Season with fresh ground pepper. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 35 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.


6 Tbsp. salted butter

1 thinly sliced red onion

½ tsp. ground allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 cored, quartered, red cabbage, thinly sliced

¾ cup dried apricots, thinly sliced

¼ cup apricot preserves

¼ balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

In a deep pot, melt butter, Add onion, allspice, and nutmeg and stir and toss.  Add cabbage and apricots. Stir until well coated and saute for 3 minutes. Add preserves and vinegar and cook at medium heat for 6 minutes until cabbage is tender but still crisp.  Season to taste.

Tips: After cooking colored vegetables, rinse them in cold water immediately to set and retain color. For fresh salads, I like to steam my vegetables. For casseroles or vegetable sides, I boil them in chicken stock or half and half with stock/water for added flavor. For oil-based dressings, always check oils for freshness. Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil – the finest quality as it’s the first pressing. Sunflower oil is another versatile oil. Nut oils have much flavor, and walnut oil has a delicious taste. Hazelnut oil works well with a mellow vinegar over leafy greens and green vegetables. Oils such as sesame should be diluted with a more neutral oil to not overpower the salad Store nut oils in the refrigerator. To make an herb-infused oil: Combine 4 Tbsp. of chopped herb with 2 cups oil and infuse for 10 days. Shake occasionally. Strain into a bottle, add a sprig of fresh herbs and seal bottle. Good for 3 months.