Our culture is one of ultimate consumerism, where convenience consistently trumps quality. We buy pre-made & processed goods from the store not only from that place of convenience but also out of ignorance. We’re blissfully unaware of how easily many of our purchases can be replicated at home, to give us a product that is not only better tasting, but also more transparent. You are no longer left googling “potassium sorbate” and can rest easy knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body. Today, I’ll cover the first in my make-at-home series: salad dressing.
It never fails – every time I make a dressing from scratch for a dinner party impresses my guests. They seem incredulous that I never buy it pre-made, but then I see their wheels start to turn as I show them how easy it is. It’s incredibly versatile based on what you have on hand and adjusts easily based on preferences or what you have on the menu. I don’t usually measure anything, but I’ve given some loose measurements below to guide you. Don’t be afraid of eyeballing, as mistakes are easily corrected as you go along.
Ultimately, you don’t need anything more than an acid and an oil of your choosing – for example, white wine vinegar & olive oil as a most basic variation. As long as it’s well seasoned, it will taste bright & fresh without much work on your part. From there, you can add more components as you see fit, such as grated garlic, honey, fresh or dried herbs, mustard, etc… Below is the loose recipe for my favorite for summer.
- juice from ½ a lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 small clove grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground dijon mustard
- ¼ c extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
I make dressing one of two ways, depending on whether I’m eating immediately or later. I’ll walk you through the first method below. If you’re planning to take it with you to eat later, shake it all up in a jar for 15-20 seconds and you’re done! Dress greens just before serving. For immediate consumption, follow my method below:
Put all your salad greens & any other salad components (herbs, macerated onions, citrus zest, etc.) in a large bowl. Season well with salt and toss to combine. Juice ½ a lemon straight into the bowl, then pour on the vinegar, honey, garlic & mustard. Toss well and taste a leaf. It should be bright, tangy, and flavorful. Depending on your tastes, you can add more honey to mellow out the acid or add more vinegar if you like the flavor. Once all the salad greens are well-coated and to your liking, pour over the olive oil. Again, toss well, and add more oil if needed. Each leaf should have an even coating of dressing. Top with fresh cracked pepper and serve directly out of the bowl!
-Salad toppings are endless! I love shaved parmesan, homemade breadcrumbs & avocado chunks.
-This is great with flavored honey or vinegar if you have any on hand to use. I finished a lingering jar of rosemary honey from Savannah Bee Company the other night that was the perfect finishing touch.
-Don’t be afraid of using up whole herbs in your salads! Big bites of basil, cilantro, and parsley take a salad from ‘blah’ to ‘wow’.