Veg-Head Weekend: Swan-Song Salad Dressing

October 22, 2011

I know, I know! Another damn salad recipe! Another shot of a tomato! But readers, you have to understand. I get so blue in the winter, staring at the mealy tomatoes and the limp, ridiculously overpriced herbs. I just had to have one last go of it, a summer swan song, if you will.

I didn’t want to muck up my final *sob* summer tomatoes up *sob* too much, but I found this salad dressing recipe and thought it sounded like a winner.  Drizzled over tomatoes, feta and basil, it gave it all the flavor of a good Greek salad.  And in my book, nothing tops a Greek salad, not even Caesar. Greek salad is king.*

The saltiness of the olives really gives the dressing heft–a meatiness, if you will.  Your favorite carnivore will slurp down salad if you cover it in this dressing, I guarantee you.  It’s bold enough to stand up to any salad green, even endive or radicchio or that curly frisee stuff, which actually I never put in my salad because it’s so dang awkward to eat.

Every time I try to eat frisee, I end up tickling my nose with it or dripping dressing down my chin. Frisee is not date food.  However, if you have mad love for the frisee, you should try this salad dressing on it.

Summer is over, readers. I admit it. Finally, I wave the white flag, roll over, and surrender to the parsnips and the squash and the sturdy produce of winter.  Hello, cauliflower.  It’s been awhile.  I’ll try not to cry too loud.**

Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

makes 1/2 cup

from Fine Cooking

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 medium garlic clove, grated

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste

Whir all ingredients in a food processor or blender until emulsified.

*If you’d like to make your case for the Caesar or any other salad for that matter, feel free. But I tell ya, Greek is king.

**As I write this, we had our first truly chilly night last night and my basil is…toten. It’s like Arlington Cemetery for herbs out in my backyard.  A few renegade sprigs of mint and rosemary are still sucking oxygen, but dang, this season is getting serious. The “s” word might even  happen this week. Oh, the horror.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

pamela October 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I am going to think of your herbs every time I drive by arlington cemetery.


Stephane October 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

In which “branch” did the herbs serve? ; )


unicorn October 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm



Dawn October 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

I was just outside with the dog, sun just coming up, trees all ablaze and I felt like crying. I think I’m already in mourning for summer.


Stacia October 23, 2011 at 7:20 am

I am not an olive fan, but my husband and my cat go crazy for them. (Yes, my cat.)


bellini October 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

What I wouldn’t give for a juicy,ripe heirloom tomato right about now.


Meister @ The Nervous Cook October 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I will never tire of tomatoes, and I will never tire of you posting anything related to tomatoes. (I get blue in the winter sometimes, too, but find that the cauliflower actually helps. We’ll see — it’s definitely around the corner.)


Kate October 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Oh, for a chill! For air that is fresh and crisp! Even if it meant the end of tomatoes (the heat killed ours all summer). Even if it killed the basil. Cool, real cool. Sigh. Frost might just kill the killer mosquitos that are stalking us these days.

Okay. Now… Anything with olives I have to try. I adore them.


bryan October 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

No I can’t let summer go! I actually had to pull out my fall jacket the other day and I bought beets. I suppose I will have to admit the passing of time. The really sucky thing is I didn’t even get to steal good tomatoes from my neighbors this year so I haven’t had ANY good ones.


TKW October 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm


Estimated snowfall: 6 inches. Estimated low temp on Wed. night: 19. Owwwwww…


Alaine October 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

This looks very simple and yet looks delicious too…


Katybeth October 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Can we think of pasta sauces, stew with tomatoes, and vegetable soup to warm our bones and thaw our spirits? Hot chocolate with little marshmallows…instead of ice-tea with mint? Whiskers on kittens? Warm woolen mittens?

Ok Bye now….


idiosyncraticeye October 24, 2011 at 2:51 am

Salads, even photos of, are always welcome here! Mmm. But sadly, yes, the weather is on the turn. :)


Sherri October 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

I actually dig fall, but…. yes – sad to see the garden go – sad to see my kids move that much closer to getting older….. End of summer shit, ya know. Keep your veg-head recipes coming — and….. never apologize for a salad :-).


KLZ October 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

The red pepper flakes make it really sound interesting to me.

You know what makes me saddest though? Winter oranges.


Tiffany October 24, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hail Greek Salad!!!! I am loving all of the squash right now, but sure will be missing everything summer soon.


Jenna October 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

The “s” word? Already??
I thought our warm days were over here, but yesterday was so nice (high of 65 or so) that I put on shorts and went to the beach–AGAIN (I could’ve sworn 2 weekends ago was the last time for shorts). And tomorrow the high is 75–crazy! Of course, the very next day there is a 20 degree plummet, but I’ll take what I can get.


BigLittleWolf October 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

Love your salads. And love love love eating salads all year round. (Have lately been making Crack Vinaigrette from scratch. Am now seriously addicted. I therefore eat salad daily in order to further the cause of the Crack Vinaigrette.)

I admit – this weekend, I was, um, cooking… Fireside Love Potage. An autumnal “must.”


Justine October 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I love olives but I would still have gone with the caprese salad as my summer swan song.

Sigh. I’m sobbing right along with you. I’m going to miss tomato season.


Jennifer October 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I don’t care for olive… or tomatoes, which is why I totally prefer a Caesar salad. But I do like Feta cheese.


Heather October 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I’ve leaped gladly into fall. Squash, apples, fires in the pit. Oh, yeah, I’m there baby! Now if only I could just hang out here and avoid the whole “s” word! Keep it to yourself please cuz’ it’ll get here soon enough!


Alexandra October 25, 2011 at 5:41 am

Greek salads:

So beautiful to look at, so mouth watering when served.

This one is glorious.

Why don’t people like you live near me?

Sometimes I feel like I”m the only one in love with a red pepper.


TheKitchenWitch October 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Whaa? No red pepper love over there? That is just insulting. Not even midnight here and there’s a thick blanket of snow on the ground already; estimated 10 inches by the time this thing decides to blow outta here tomorrow afternoon. Ah, fall in the Rockies.


Jane October 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

Feta? Did you say feta? I’ll eat anything with feta on it.

And yes. I mourn the end of salad season, too. I used to eat salad all year round. But I’m trying to eat seasonally and locally – making it tough, even down here during the deep winter months. And my husband (Mr. Chinese Medicine) says it’s bad to eat salad in the winter. Something about bad for your digestion….but all I hear is blah, blah, blah, salad bad, blah, blah, blah.


Christine October 25, 2011 at 9:55 am

I’m with Jane. Let’s chant it: Feta! Feta! Feta! (Did someone say veggies? What veggies?)


Emily Malloy @Cleanliness October 25, 2011 at 10:03 am



Kelly October 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Greek is totally king. Queen, too.

I’ve fallen in love with Tuscan Italian dressing, which is *gasp* bottled. It’s delicious, though, because it’s all the best flavors of a good Greek salad. Olives, lemon, feta … yum!


ghostfighter0506 October 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

I don’t care for olive… or tomatoes, which is why I totally prefer a Caesar salad. But I do like Feta cheese. | :P


Mary Lee October 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’m with you, Sistah! I have heirloom tomatoes still ripening on the vines and taking their own sweet time about it. The first frost could be just around the corner. (sigh)


The Curious Cat November 6, 2011 at 4:59 am

I’ve been looking for some new inspiration and I think you just caught it with this salad dressing…sounds divine! I want to make it now!!! xxx


Yumigee November 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

Very nice ! I love your recipe .! Thanks for sharing .! :)


Rebecca November 29, 2011 at 7:44 am

I know you posted this ages ago. Sorry. Life caught up with me.
I’m not a big cauliflower fan, but I put some in a refridge pickle mix and found it very tasty indeed. The perfect thing when you are feeling peckish and …. dont want to eat anything fatty or starchy.


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