Only 5 Salad Dressings you need

Salad Dressings

Only five salad dressings you need

Only five salad dressings you need

I have no problem shopping for grilled chicken or a can of pasta sauce, but what I am religious is to cook from scratch …

… This is a salad dressing. I believe this is one of those foundations where minimal effort leads to maximum flavor, picking up salads and vegetables with a sour brightness that their bottled counterparts simply can’t match. You don’t even need a huge number of dressing recipes in your culinary repertoire – for the most part, these are the five that I use over and over again.

Versatile vinaigrette
When I talk about “simple vinaigrette” in my dinner posts, that’s what I usually talk about. I’d say a version of it stays on my dining table 90% of nights. The formula for this comes from Silver sky, one of the first cookbooks I have ever had. I was so young that I had no idea that the bandage was in anything other than a bottle with Paul Newman’s face. I love it because it is so flexible – you really can’t go wrong using any vinegar and any herbs you have on hand.
Do: In a small jar or measuring glass, shake or whisk 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 vinegar (red, white, white balsamic, sherry), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper, fresh chopped herbs (parsley, garlic, tarragon, dill, basil). After mixing, shake or whisk the butter into a jar with an even stream until it emulsifies. (Vegan)

I use this interchangeably with the aforementioned versatile, but usually when I want to add brightness without adding too much flavor.
Do: In a small jar or measuring glass, shake or whisk 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemon), 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I love Gray Poupon), 1 1/2 teaspoons honey, salt, and pepper. After mixing, shake or whisk 1/3 cup olive oil in a jar with a steady stream until it emulsifies. (Vegetarian if you replace sugar with honey)

Sesame soy sauce
I use this noodle dressing most often when the main goal is to make the dish richer. It’s so bright and exciting. You can also add herbs – garlic, cilantro, dill – and replace the tamari soy sauce entirely to make it gluten-free.
Do: In a small jar or measuring glass, whisk 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, squeeze fresh lime juice, a pinch of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped shallots or green onions with a whisk. After mixing, shake or whisk 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil) in a jar with a steady stream until an emulsion forms. (Vegan)

Classic Caesar
In our house, it’s like fairy dust. Pour any salad on it – not just Caesar – and you can count on triumph on the kitchen table. Julia Turshen was the first to advise me to ditch the raw egg (which most traditional Caesars call for) in favor of mayonnaise, which, of course, is just an emulsified butter and egg. I don’t like too much garlic or anchovies, but if you do, you can add garlic to two cloves and anchovies to three fillets.
In a blender or food processor, grind 1 small garlic clove (minced), 1 anchovy fillet (drain), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, ΒΌ cup finely grated parmesan. cheese, salt and pepper.

Creamy herbal green dressing
This is another dressing to use a blender for. I especially love this time of year when you have a surplus of herbs and when you want to double your green factor with herbs or other foods. (Try drizzling with fried beets or broccoli.) It’s also delicious served with fried fish or chicken.
Do: In a blender, add 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup parsley (coarsely chopped), 2 tablespoons garlic (coarsely chopped), 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 medium avocado, 1/4 cup olive oil 3 onions (only light green and white parts, chopped), squeezed honey or 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until it reaches the consistency of a sauce, which is creamy but not too thick or runny, remembering that you may need to add more water, one tablespoon at a time. (For vegans, if you replace yogurt with cashew cream, just use a little less, like 1/3 cup)

Only five salad dressings you need

What am I missing? What is your clothes?

PS Summer sauces without cooking and how to turn almost rotten foods into gold.

(Photo by Christine Hahn for Weekday vegetarians.)