Salad Dressings

21/07/2012 19:29


Salad Dressing ~ sauce for a salad that are usually based on vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or other emulsified product. Dressings are an important part of any salad and add flavour as well as moisture.

The original and oldest of all dressings is the oil and vinegar better known by its French name vinaigrette. You can buy a range of dressings, but they are expensive and contain preservatives. You can create your own with little effort and know the purity of all ingredients.

Dress for success
Salad dressings don't take long to make, especially if you remember the rule of thumb of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid.  You need to taste to get the oil-to-acid ratio just right- you may need to tweak it further and then season, or add a pinch of sugar if it's too tart. Just keep tasting all the time as you go.
You can vary the flavour of oil you use, and the acid can be fresh citrus juice or any flavour of vinegar.

OILS ~ invest in good -flavoured extra-virgin olive oils to make salad dressings. Experiment with flavoured oils such as nut, citrus or herb. Storing olive oil so that it remains fresh, retains flavour, and doesn’t become rancid is important. Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place away from light and heat. Do not refrigerate. Place your olive oil in a kitchen cabinet away from the heat of the stove.

VINEGAR ~ again, invest in good-quality balsamic vinegar that you can use in dressings or to simply shake over mixed peppery leaves. Other good-flavoured vinegars that make perfect partners to oils are White wine, Cider, and Sherry. And a fruity one like Raspberry will add fragrance and piquancy to leaves and vegetables.
For green and mixed salads, add the dressing just before serving. When adding the dressing, add just enough to coat the ingredients - too much dressing will make the leaves wilt. Pasta, rice and potato salads can be dressed a couple of hours before serving to allow the flavours to develop.


Enough for a salad that serves 2

Put 3 tbsp light olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, pinch sugar into a screw-topped jar. Season and shake well to combine.

Serves 12

In a small bowl whisk together- 60ml white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, Salt & freshly ground black pepper, pinch of sugar. Slowly add 150ml extra virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Alternatively pop all the ingredients into a screw-topped jar and shake well.

Serves 12

In a small bowl, whisk together 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 25g parmesan, finely grated, freshly ground black pepper, pinch sugar. Slowly add 150ml extra virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Or put the ingredients into a screw-topped jar and shake well.

Makes 125ml

6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp chopped mint
pinch of sugar
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Beat the oil with lemon, mint, sugar and salt & pepper to taste, until well blended. Or place all the ingredients into a screw-top jar and shake well to combine. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, before using to dress a cold potato salad or a green leaf salad.

 Makes enough to serve 4-6

3 Medium egg yolks
4 tbsp double cream
1 tsp English mustard
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
sea salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl set over a pan with simmering water in it, then stir constantly for a few minutes until the mixture thickens, take care not to overheat otherwise it will scramble. Put the salad cream into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool ( this stops a skin forming), then chill until required.

Tip ~ you could make the salad cream in quantity in advance, it will keep well in the fridge for upto a week.

Creamy but not too rich, dollop this over Romaine or Cos leaves and scatter over slivers of spring onions.

Serves 4

200g plain creamy yogurt
sea salt, to taste
pinch caster sugar
clove of garlic, peeled & crushed into a paste
2 tbsp olive oil

Blend all the ingredients together in a bowl. You can make this in advance, in which case cover and chill.