At the end of August (before the temperatures reached three-digit numbers), my husband and I spent three days In the Napa Valley. This time we chose Healdsburg as our headquarters. We had been there before with friends and enjoyed it. We visited several wineries and had some great food. One of the nights, we made reservation at Bravas. Travel & Leisure rates it as one of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the U.S. James Beard finalist, Mark Stark, is the executive chef. Mark and Terri Stark own and operate several restaurants in the area. My taste buds were elevated trying all the different tapas. Everything was top quality, the setting was simple and relaxing. We ate in the garden. The one dish that got my attention was a baby kale salad.
Mind you, I am not a kale salad person, but I ordered this one because of the preserved lemon vinaigrette. I enjoyed every bite of this the salad. Even my husband, (who as you all know is hard to please when it comes to vegetables and salads) liked it. It was our server’s first day on her job, and my maternal instinct kicked in. I helped her along since I was once a waitress at a Howard Johnson restaurant in Massachusetts when I first came to this country. Anyway, the server and I bonded and as a “thank you,“ I got the recipe for the preserved lemon vinaigrette. The recipe was for a large amount. It took some math and adjustment to get it where I liked the flavor as much as in the original vinaigrette. I made a few changes. I was lucky to find baby kale at Trader Joe’s. The baby kale reminds me of Rapunzel lettuces or field salad (Feldsalat). In English it is called lamb’s lettuce or māche. I have used this vinaigrette with other salads.
The salad at Bravas was made with baby kale, shaved Manchego cheese, and slivered fennel. I have made it several times and love it. I used the dressing for another salad with strawberries, sliced onions (soaked in cold water) and avocados. Add a sautéed chicken breast or piece of salmon and you have a meal. The recipe for a delicious chicken breast covered with pretzel crumbs will be my next post.
To make this recipe you will need preserved lemon. I make my own every year, click here for the recipe. You can also buy them ( Amazon has them). You will not regret having a jar of this North African delicacy in your refrigerator. It's great on avocado toasts, couscous, in cocktails, and anything you can think of.
REcipe for preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
This preserved lemon vinaigrette yields about 1 ¼ cup and will last in the fridge for about a week or longer. The preserved lemons are very salty, so add salt sparingly as needed. Do not rinse the preserved lemons. Make sure that the vinaigrette is silky smooth. My Vitamix did the job.
1 generous TBS chopped shallots
a dash of black pepper
1 generous TBS chopped preserved lemon
2 TBS honey
½ tsp. mustard
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup neutral oil like canola oil
½ cup sunflower oil
Add shallots to the preserved lemon, honey and mustard to a mixer. I used my Vitamix. Puree the mix until everything is silky smooth. Slowly add the oil, creating a stable emulsification. Stir in the pepper and season with additional salt and honey if necessary.
Recipe from the Bravas Restaurant in Healdsberg, CA
Adapted by sunnycovechef.com
Check out some of my other salad recipes. Click on the photo to get the recipe.
9/26/2022 05:47:49 pm
I was able to try this Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette on a salad Gerlinde made in her little cabin up in the mountains in Pinecrest. It was delicious, lemony and creamy! Loved it! Thank you for the recipe.
10/9/2022 09:30:08 am
You are so welcome Diane.
I like the sound of your salad with strawberries Gerlinde. And this lemon vinaigrette. I do like preserved lemons! and the bowl with the baby kale salad is so pretty. I am not a fan of kale at all but i did have some the other day on top of an okonomiyaki, which was fried and lacy and quite tasty! Almost turned me into a kale fan but no ...!
10/9/2022 09:34:08 am
I hear you Sherry, I am not a fan of kale myself, especially kale salad but I do like the baby kale . It tastes more like Lamb's lettuce. You can use the dressing for different salads.
9/28/2022 03:50:17 am
Gerlinde — this sounds just perfect! I, too, make my own preserved lemon each year and am always happy to find new ways to use it. I love the baby kale at Trader Joe’s — this will definitely be on our home menu soon. Thanks for being so nice to the server and, thus, getting the recipe! By the way, in which Howard Johnson’s did you work? I wonder if our paths crossed.
10/9/2022 09:37:58 am
David, about 50 years ago I was a waitress on the weekends at a Howard Johnson in Lowell Massachusetts. Some people were very nice realizing that I was a new arrival and some were very mean and rude. It was a good education.
9/28/2022 07:24:03 am
This looks and sounds wonderful! Preserved lemon is really something fabulous! And I'm not a huge kale fan much either!
10/9/2022 09:40:11 am
Mimi, try the baby kale salad , I don't like the regular kale in a salad. The baby kale tastes like machè lettuce.
9/28/2022 07:59:30 am
What a great looking vinaigrette! Gotta try this.
10/9/2022 09:42:17 am
Best wishes to you John, enjoy your new adventures and have fun. I will miss your blog posts.
10/11/2022 05:53:12 am
Interesting recipe! It might even make me like kale. I actually enjoy salads and all sorts of vegetables, but for some reason I just haven't been able to find joy with kale... but who knows, with a tasty dressing ... ?
10/11/2022 05:55:26 am
It’s the baby Kale I like not so much the regular one . I used this dressing on other salads.
10/13/2022 03:47:00 pm
I think you would like the dressing Liz.
10/13/2022 06:50:32 am
Love the additions of preserved lemons. So fresh and bright but briny and little salty too. I bet this is quite delicious over a little in season baby kale too. Going to have to try this soon.
10/13/2022 03:49:12 pm
I like your description of briny and a little salty Bobbie. It's perfect!
11/1/2022 08:50:50 am
Thanks for this Gerlinde — another great use for all the lemons I preserved last year!
11/2/2022 03:21:21 pm
I love this dressing David. My picky husband will eat a salad when I make it. If you make it, add honey and lemon juice until it is right for you. I just made another batch last night for a salad with arugula, beets, pears, and Roquefort cheese. It was delicious.
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Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.