Easy, homemade, salad dressing
I loved the thread about easy salads, and got some wonderful ideas. It started me wondering about salad dressings, and what to put on salads to make salad-eating more fun, and less same-old, same-old.
So, please share your easy, quick- to- prepare, salad dressings.
Stock up your pantry with a selection of oils and vinegars to create yourself a "palette" upon which you can improvise. To start, I suggest olive oil, nut oils, sesame oil for the oils. For the vinegars - red wine, white wine, sherry, Japanese and Chinese rice, bottle ponzu (Japanese citrus dressing), etc. For seasonings, black pepper, white pepper, sansho (sichuan pepper), sichimi togarashi (Japanese spice mix), etc. The classic emulsifier is mustard...so you stock up on a variety of that as well.
For an Asian dressing, for example, use light sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing in a 4:1 ratio. Season to taste (you can use light soy instead of salt). Instead of rice vinegar, I would sometimes use bottled ponzu. Put all ingredients in a small glass jar and shake. Keeping within that roughly 4:1 oil:vinegar ratio will create good results.
The ones I use:
1. Red wine vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, touch of honey (usually dress finely sliced red onion and seeded thin slices of tomato first, add salad greens prior to serving).
2. Home made yogurt (thick and tangy), salt, pepper, olive oil.
3. Ground toasted sesame seed, vinegar, salt, pepper, touch of sugar, chopped chives or finely chopped green onion.
4. Home made mayo plus lime juice, salt, pepper.
Here's a blended vinaigrette salad dressing that we use. It sounds kind of strange, but . our family loves it:
Blended Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
4 Tbs Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1-3/4 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
3-1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Add ingredients to a jar with lid. Seal jar and
shake well to blend.
Makes about 3/4 cup.
You should have more acids on hand to build a vinaigrette.
Basic ones to keep on hand
Oranges or tangerines
White and red wine vinegar
Neutral like Canola or Vegetable
Extra virgin olive oil
Nut oils like walnut, almond, hazel nut and peanut
Toasted sesame oil
I'm pretty sure I have all of the acids listed above currently on hand. A little acid, an emulsifier like mustard if wanted and aromatics like shallots, garlic, ginger, herbs and spices mixed with oil in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio depending on the acidity of the acid. Some dressings I will add a little sweetener like sugar, honey, agave syrup for added for sweetness and depth. Salt or soy sauce and pepper will round it out.
I can't think of the last time I bought bottle dressing except for one of my kids.
One of my current favorites is the following lime cumin vinaigrette, especially over sliced avocados or a tender green salad with avocados:
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 shallot, finely minced
pinch of cayenne, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Then slowly whisk in:
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (depends on how much lime juice you have)
I'm not sure if this is entirely my creation or if some recipe I'd seen was lurking within, but we've been enjoying this one immensely.
This is mine. Once the ingredients are on hand (and most probably already are), this is easy and terrific. And, as noted below, it is versatile, you can tweak it with an ingredient or two into something else entirely.
Ok, it is so easy. Here is what you need to get to have on hand. I do this at least 3-5 times a week when I have salad. And you can make a large batch and keep it in the fridge for a week or so.
Buy these things:
- a mason jar with a screw top or some kind of smaller jar you can shake easily
- Garlic (you can easily buy garlic already peeled now..you just need to also have a Garlic Press)
- A good quality olive oil, such as Colavita
- Wine vinegars...red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar
- course ground mustard (with seeds, I like 'La Favorite Course Ground Dijon' but there are lots of choices)
- salt and pepper
All of these things keep a while (the peeled garlic in the fridge, shallots out on the counter, lemons on the counter, mustard in the fridge, everything else in the cabinet)
Here is what you do:
Chop one half shallot pretty fine. Add the shallot and two garlic cloves, pressed, to the jar. Add a combo of red and champagne vinegar, about 1/4 cup total. Add some salt (a few good shakes) and let it sit 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup olive oil, a spoonful of the mustard, the juice of half a lemon (just cut it in half and squeeze right into the jar, no worries about the seeds), lots of black pepper and more salt to taste. Put the top on and shake it up well. Voila!
You can add to this:
thyme leaves (yum, I do this all the time)
Any herbs, really, I like rosemary and thyme the best
A couple of variations:
To this, at the end, add some crumbled blue cheese for a blue cheese vinaigrette
Also, you can make this, then add a few glugs of buttermilk, chives, thyme and some mayo to make a really good homemade vinaigrette ranch.
My basic vinaigrette is this: Pour a couple of ounces of evoo into a soup bowl, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, about 1/4 tsp sugar and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder. Garlic and/or onion powder are optional. Beat with whisk to blend, then add about an ounce of vinegar of your choice and whisk some more. Pour over salad and toss. I use all types of vinegar, depending on my mood.
For variation, I most often add about a half teaspoon (or more to taste) of dried dill weed to the above. Everyone loves it!
For an Asian type flavor, I add dark sesame oil to taste with a little shoyu and/or miso. Whisk well, then I have one of those neat little Japanese grinders for sesame seeds. I grind in a teaspoon or more and whisk again. I like this dressing over crisp cold wedges of iceberg lettuce and a few mandarin slices on the side..
Sometimes I omit the dry mustard and add crushed berries -- I especially like crushed raspberries -- and more sugar. Great on salads that combine fruits and nuts with greens. This can also be interesting with some hot sauce or chile flakes added.
Lots of good things you can do with sour cream and mayonnaise, seperately or in combination. Add cheese (blue is nice), avacados, capers, citrus zest, all sorts of things. The key is to use your imagination and have fun. The worst thing that can happen is it will taste awful and you'll have to throw it out. If one experiement with salad dressing is all the food you throw out in your lifetime, the world will be way ahead of the game! Have fun! '-)