Dressing of Salad.

In the Summer of Salads I explained all the joys of salads. But without a tasty vinaigrette or dressing, a salad can very easily fall flat. So as promised here is a simple tutorial of how to make your salads sing.Image

There are three components to a vinaigrette; oil, acid, and seasonings, oh, and an emulsifier. I remember when I first learned how to make dressing I was scared of the word emulsify. It means the mixing two ingredients together that don’t normally mix. Do not be afraid. Yes, mustard can be used to blend the oil and vinegar together, but you can definitely omit it and just vigorously whisk the dressing together right before pouring it on the salad.

There are literally so many oils and acids that you probably have never heard of. Here’s a list a few that are worthy of keeping in your pantry for day to day use.

Oils

Olive Oil- A light version is my go to. I wouldn’t use extra virgin. Because it tastes like olives, unless that is the flavor you desire.

Grapeseed- This is another good light flavored oil. I find it to be a bit more oiler, so you don’t need as much

Canola- In a pinch it works but not really my favorite because it tastes like oil.

Acids

Lemon Juice- My favorite, even when I’m not making a lemon based vinaigrette lemon is incorporated somehow

Balsamic Vinegar- A good go to when you want a lot of depth

Champagne Vinegar- A nice light vinegar that takes on the tastes of the seasonings really well

Red Wine Vinegar- A very acidic and has a slightly tangy flavor

Apple Cider Vinegar- A good sweet dressing

Seasonings

Garlic/onion/shallot-chopped very fine (You may also use dried versions of these things. Although the flavor isn’t as good it’s better then watching these things grow mold if you don’t use them often)

Honey/agave/brown sugar- most of the time you need some type of sweetener to take the tartness off the acid

Lemon/Lime zest- magically brightens

Salt, pepper-these are key to dressings!

Now, the above ingredients are almost always necessary. But the cool thing about making your own vinaigrette is you can add any flavor you like, any chopped herbs, jelly, fish sauce, orange juice…seriously almost any liquid.

 I guess this would be the place in this post where I put in a recipe but I don’t really have one. Making vinaigrette is all about understanding the components, combining the vinegar and seasonings in a bowl, and then whisking in the oil SLOWLY. Although you shouldn’t be afraid of the word emulsify, incorporating the oil in slowly is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure your vinaigrette isn’t too oily. A blender or food processor is an excellent cheat tool here, but a whisk and a bowl work just fine. A general rule is 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (so like ½ cup oil to ¼ cup vinegar) but I have never been good at math to do all that measuring.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Cilantro-Lime- 1 part champagne vinegar, 2 parts lime juice, chopped garlic/cilantro, agave, olive oil

Basic Balsamic- Balsamic vinegar, a spoon of Dijon mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, olive oil (strawberry or raspberry balsamic add a couple spoonful’s of jelly)

Italian- Red wine vinegar, spoon of mustard, dried or fresh “Italian seasoning” herbs, garlic, olive oil

The key here is to make something you like and it may to take some failed dressings to get there, but guess what? That’s ok.

Whatever you make has to be better then ingesting a store bought sugary, fatty, 18 ingredient dressing.

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I really wish someone could explain to me what “natural flavor” is.

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my life has been a very interesting journey thus far. in my quarter century crisis im and not certain of much except that i love cooking and entertaining, and pleasing people is my passion. (wait that sounded a little funny) i am goofy eccentric, and love to laugh, in fact i often laugh at the most inappropriate times. i place high value in honesty and working hard. i don’t really believe in faking it until you make it, without some base knowledge or some sort of depth to your cause. i believe in making mistakes and trying everything once as long as you bring yourself no harm and no harm to others. i am a new age hippy, my words to live by are freedom, serenity, and love. i look for signs of the world and listen. i do judge, anyone who says they do not is a liar, but i use my judgements against you to reflect back on me to see how i can better myself. i hate constraints of our society, including grammar, punctuation, and recipes. i think fast except when it comes to numbers. the culinary world has always been and shall be my safe haven and outlet. i want to inspire, teach, and learn.

4 thoughts on “Dressing of Salad.

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