I am a salad lover, plain and simple. I almost always have a salad on the dinner table, and lately I've been trying out new salad combos because my husband gets tired of lettuce and tomato every night. (The truth is that I do too, but I'm sometimes just too lazy to do anything else...) The other day I realized that I hardly ever post anything about the salads I make, and now that summer is just around the corner, I need to limber up for prime salad season!
I came across this salad by Ina Garten a couple of years ago and try to make it as often as possible. It's very simple, but elegant, and has great flavor. My daughter will pick out the onions...and leave the lettuce on the plate! (I think I must have the strangest two year old out there--she loves onions in any shape or form.) The onions turn out sweet and have a little bit of a pickled taste which works nicely with the fresh shallot and lettuce.
I've adjusted the original recipe a little, but mostly in quantity. Ina's recipe calls for red leaf lettuce, but I find that too limp for a good salad, so I go for a heftier green leaf or romaine.
Balsamic Red Onion Salad
adapted from Ina Garten
1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
olive oil (about 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup)
1 small shallot, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
Green leaf or Romaine lettuce (enough to fill your salad bowl)
Place the sliced onions on a baking sheet and toss with a generous amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil (about the same amount of each). Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes until the onions are softened and the vinegar has caramelized. Remove from oven and toss with another tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar. (I try to get this done at least 15 minutes before I want to serve the salad to give the onions time to cool.)
For the dressing, whisk together the shallot, mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. While whisking, add about 1/3 cup olive oil until emulsified. (You may need to add a little more olive oil--taste after about 1/3 of a cup and add more if needed.)
Add the onions and dressing to the lettuce and toss.