This is as simple as it gets, friends! A tangy, herby vinaigrette drizzled on top of a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, nicoise (nee-SWAHZ) olives, and jalapeno fontina cheese. So what’s Provence about it? With the addition of herbes de Provence into my red wine-balsamic vinaigrette, combined with nicoise olives that hail from Provence, voila! You can use a French cheese if you want to take this theme all the way, but I just used what I had on hand.
Herbes de Provence is, hands down, my favorite herb mixture. It combines thyme, marjoram, basil, fennel seed, lavender, and sage, and I go through it like nobody’s business. I usually sprinkle it onto vegetables or chicken before roasting. Utilizing herbs, whether fresh or dried, in your daily cooking repertoire adds more variety to your tastebuds. I mean, how many of you are sick of the usual salad with Italian vinaigrette, or some other bottled variety that’s been sitting in your fridge for awhile? Rev it up a little, and you’ll find that you’ll be incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your day because you’re not bored of a certain flavor.
Try to be creative with your salad dressings, by using different types of vinegars (like champagne, rice, white balsamic, apple cider), mixing in different herbs (tarragon, oregano, chives, dill), and using that heart-healthy olive oil. Typically the vinegar-to-oil ratio for basic vinaigrettes is 1-to-3. In my vinaigrettes, I don’t use as much oil. I use almost an equal ratio of both, and the emulsification of the vinegar and oil still works wonderfully.
makes about 1/3 cup vinaigrette
for the vinaigrette:
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
a couple turns of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
for the salad (how much is up to you, but the vinaigrette can serve about 3 people if each person gets 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Double or triple the recipe if you’re serving more):
romaine lettuce leaves, torn
cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ slices
1 ounce jalapeno fontina cheese per person, crumbled
1. For the vinaigrette, combine the herbes de Provence, garlic, vinegars, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until ingredients are emulsified. Drizzle vinaigrette on top of salad.