A June Evening Salad...keto Style With Classic French Vinaigrette

Today is the first of June and we have been enjoying very fine weather for the last few days.
It is 8pm and the temperature gauge in the garden reads 20oC....amazing!
With the aromas of rosemary and thyme and my newly potted acquisitions of French lavender on the patio, one could almost believe they were in the south of France......almost!

On fine summer days and even lovelier evenings, if we are not firing up the BBQ, then a salad is on the cards, and when following the keto style of eating, well then there's nothing like indulging in my favourite thing.......CHEESE!
How do I love cheese?.....let me count the ways!.....was the title of a previous post on cheese, you can read it here!

This delightful salad makes the best of what is so readily available at this time of year....crisp salad leaves freshly picked from the garden, tiny leaves of baby spinach, ripe tomatoes warmed by the days sun, cucumber....so refreshing after a warm day, and some celery and peppers for added crunch.
My preferred cheese of the evening is that favoured by the Greeks.... the wonderfully crumbly salty feta...and for strength in flavour, a well aged parmesan finely grated over the top at the last minute.

No salad is complete without a really good dressing and although I do enjoy the newer tastes of balsamic, honey mustard or pesto dressing, I am a traditionalist at heart and always go back to the classic French dressing....home-made of course.

French dressing or vinaigrette, although prolific in France of course, is very hard to come by in any of the restaurants I visit here in Ireland. Everyone seems to want to invent new dressings and that's all very well, but if you are heading out for a simple steak with a salad on the side, you can't beat a classic dressing.

For a classic vinaigrette dressing to suit any salad you will need.......

dijon mustard......please don't try to use English or even wholegrain, the result is not the same

white or red wine vinegar...whichever you like....I tend to stick to red...love my red wine after all!

olive oil....try to get a good quality oil, extra virgin preferably.....try to get hold of French oil but if you can't I suppose Italian will have to do or even Greek oil.....did you know that the best olive oil should only be sold in a darkened glass bottle or in a tin drum? check out your supermarket to see how they sell theirs!

a little fresh lemon juice....optional
sea salt & fresh black pepper

How to......

place 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard in a round bottomed ceramic or stainless steel bowl....you may find it easier to use a food processor or blender if you have oneadd 2 tablespoons of wine vinegarwhisk the two together wellmeasure into a jug, approx 200mls of olive oilslowly add the olive oil while whisking the vinegar and mustard furiouslycontinue until all the oil has been addeddo a taste test....this should be done with a knuckle of fresh baguette for authenticity....but tasting with a teaspoon is fine too!season to taste with a little salt and pepperadd a little fresh lemon juice if desiredSome people like a bland oilier dressing whereas I like my dressings to be quite sharp and acidic...if you like less bite then add a little more oil until it suits your taste....same for the vinegar, add more if you like or add plenty of fresh lemon juice for a really fresh tasting acidity.
A word of warning....when making your salad, the dressing should not be added until the last minute as the vinegar will make your leaves wilt and loose their crispness......bon appetit!