From Olive Oil Synergies

 

Illustration by Helen Krayenhoff

 

This recipe is by Roberta Klugman, recipient of the California Olive Oil Council Pioneer Award, and possibly our region’s best expert on how to appreciate local extra-virgin olive oil at the daily table. Her Meyer lemon vinaigrette is simple and adaptable. Use the best and freshest extra-virgin olive oil you can get your hands on. She reminds us to always check the harvest date on the olive oil container and choose only the most recent harvest. If you use your olive oil frequently and liberally, you will not have outdated oil in your cupboard.

Makes enough to dress a salad for 4 people

Basic ingredients

  • Juice of ½ medium Meyer lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 scallion, white part and as much of the light-green leaves as you like, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste*
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Optional ingredients

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed with water and dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated, high quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (highly recommended unless you have other cheese, such as a blue cheese, in the salad)

Juice the lemon into a small bowl and remove the seeds. Add the chopped scallion, a pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste plus the optional chopped garlic, anchovies, and herbs. Stir until well mixed. If using the optional ingredients, let macerate for a few minutes.

Add extra virgin olive oil to the lemon juice mixture just before serving the salad. Mix these ingredients until well integrated and the oil begins to emulsify. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat salad greens.

Variations

As an alternative to lemon juice, you can use a high-quality red wine, balsamico, or champagne vinegar reduced to 1½ tablespoons. The juice of a Eureka lemon is also acceptable. If you are using a Eureka lemon but still want the Meyer lemon’s sweetness, decrease the amount of lemon and add orange or tangerine juice to make up approximately 25% of the citrus juice.

*When deciding how much salt to put into the dressing, consider all other salty ingredients like anchovies, olives, nuts, or cheese that you are adding to the dressing and salad.