Five essential vinaigrettes for the summer

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—Alison Shaw

Summer-fresh vegetables — the tender and tasty leafy greens we see now, and the garden cucumbers, tomatoes, and produce to come — are available only for a few months. They deserve a fresh, delicious dressing to match. A good vinaigrette and salad go together like lobster and butter, or a beach chair and sand.

There’s a basic formula: 1 tablespoon of a decent vinegar to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. To this I typically add chopped shallot or a garlic clove, and often a dash of maple syrup or local honey; always a pinch or two of salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Whisk. Enjoy. I swear that making a vinaigrette is easier than walking down the path to Lambert’s Cove Beach.

One last piece of advice: the decent vinegar. Le Roux sells a nice balsamic. And ask a visitor to bring you two bottles of vinegar from Whole Foods: the O Brand white balsamic and O Brand cabernet or zinfandel red wine vinegar. Or add a stop on your next off-Island trip.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 2 to 4

So easy! White balsamic works with any lettuce green, including arugula. It shines in green salads topped with strawberries, peaches, cherries, figs, or any summer fruit. White balsamic doesn’t discolor the fruit.

2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

5 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. or two of minced shallot

Salt and pepper

Greek Salad Vinaigrette

Makes about ¾ cup

Among my favorite versatile dressings is this quick and easy-to-make Greek vinaigrette. Adding a touch of citrus to a vinegar-based dressing gives it a bright taste. Try tossing this with romaine salads, Greek salads, or on any mesclun salad mixes, as well as with pasta or vegetable salads. Top with Mermaid feta.

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 tsp. fresh oregano

½ teaspoon minced garlic

½ cup olive oil

Salt + pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Greek Vinaigrette for 2 to 4: 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 5 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, good pinch of dried oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk together.

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

This dressing won raves all last summer — it goes with everything. I love it for dinner salads. These are a platter of baby lettuces or baby kale, topped with seasonal veggies and a protein such as smoked trout or salmon or sliced grilled steak. Add fresh mozzarella, feta, or blue cheese. An easy patio dinner for 4 to 6.

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey or other sweetener

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 Tbsp. fresh herb such as basil, parsley, oregano or chives, or 1 tsp. dried oregano

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon, mustard, honey, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Italian Herb Vinaigrette

Makes about ¾ cup

Here is a great multipurpose salad dressing for the times you want to toss up a salad with many different ingredients, including leafy greens, grains, and vegetables. It goes well with everything.

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. each dried oregano, basil, and thyme

1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon, mustard, herbs, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes about ¾ cup

This is my “go-to” balsamic dressing. The trick to making it special is to add a touch of real maple syrup. This is a multipurpose dressing for spring baby lettuces or full-on summer greens, with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and more.

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. maple syrup

2 tsp. minced shallot (optional)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup, shallot, and mustard. Add the oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

Balsamic Vinaigrette for 2 to 4: 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 5 Tbsp. olive oil, maple syrup, dash of Dijon, salt and pepper. Whisk together.