The truth is, I love nearly every vegetable, and I especially like vegetables with herbs. But look around in the recipe archives, and you’ll notice that by far I have more recipes for salads than anything else on this blog. I’m not that big on sweets, but I’m a complete nut over salads. And when I tried this salad dressing with Kalamata olives, (which has been promoted to “I’ll make this for the rest of my life” status), there was no turning back. It’s appropriate that the recipe came from a special edition of Fine Cooking Magazine, since I’ve been raving about their recipes all this year too. This dressing has been good with every variation of salad greens and cheese I’ve tried so far. Keep reading and I’ll give you the original dressing recipe, some variations of the dressing and three different combinations for salads I’ve made.
The vegetable of course is lettuce, spinach, or arugula, depending on which salad strikes your fancy, but the herb I’m using is thyme. It’s so appropriate that thyme plays a secondary, but very important role in this salad dressing recipe because there are so many recipes where thyme adds a subtle, but important flavor component. There are many types of thyme, but in my garden I have silver thyme, and I even used some of last summer’s frozen thyme in this recipe. Thyme is a perennial, and it’s easy to grow. It’s also one of the few herbs where the dried kind comes close to having the flavor of the fresh or frozen type, so use dried thyme in this recipe if that’s all you have available.
Now, here are two more salad variations I made with this fabulous Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette, and then the recipe, with some dressing variations I’ve tried.
Spinach Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Parmesan
Romaine and Arugula Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Parmesan
Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups, Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Magazine special edition on Side Dishes.)
1 small shallot coarsely chopped (or use 2 T chopped red onion)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or use 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
In food processor or mini-processor use metal blade and chop shallot and thyme. Add olives, vinegar, and mustard and pulse until pureed. (There can still be some small pieces of olive.) With machine going, slowly add olive oil through tube and continue to process until dressing is well emulsified. This dressing will store in the refrigerator for a week or two, but you will need to let it come to room temperature each time you use it.
For a slightly milder dressing, use white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. This is my personal favorite, although I like all the versions of this recipe.
For a much milder dressing with just a hint of Kalamata olive flavor, mix dressing half and half with your favorite purchased vinaigrette. (I discovered this by accident when my dressing was almost gone and I needed a little more, but it’s quite delicious.)