A beautiful salad can be time consuming to put together, but if you take the time to do it, STOP using bottled dressing. Home made is so EASY and quick, and the taste is vastly superior to even the best bottled. A tip from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, is to mix the dressing in bottom of bowl BEFORE you throw in the salad to toss.
Have I lost you yet? If not, here’s the classic French vinaigrette:
- 2 parts olive or walnut oil to one part red wine vinegar
- one clove garlic crushed or finely minced, mix in salad bowl, add salt to taste.
- That’s it! A 5-minute proposition. Variation might include a quarter tsp. of Dijon mustard and/or a small pinch of sugar.
I happen to like dressing that is more acidic, so I use 50-50 proportion of olive oil to vinegar.
Other variations: substitute red wine vinegar with balsamic for a sweeter taste, sherry vinegar for a stronger taste. I would only use those vinegars with olive oil, not walnut oil. Throw in some mayo and grated parmesan to thicken it, and you have a to-die-for topping for steamed fresh asparagus, grilled eggplant or grilled or raw bell peppers.
Greek salad? Same basic dressing, only substitute lemon for half the vinegar, then toss some feta into the mix and stir to thicken.
Want to go Asian? Try this:
- 50% sesame oil
- 25% rice wine vinegar
- 25% lime juice
- one clove garlic
- ginger to taste (raw or powdered)
- a splash of soy sauce. If you want a hot/sweet effect, add sugar, honey, or agave to taste, and a sprinkle of cayenne.
Notice that I’m sticking to the same basic 50-50 oil to acid ratio. So for a spinach salad, you might replace 3/4 of the vinegar with orange juice and throw in a bunch of basil leaves, dried cranberries, and walnuts.
I don’t know if I’m convincing any of you to give up bottled, but if you try making your own, you’ll like it.
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