Top Menu

Subscribe to the Monday Morning Cooking Club Newsletter!
The makings of my favourite French vinaigrette

What We Love About – Salad dressings!

What’s your favourite salad dressing?

Mine’s a classic ‘VOOM’ – Vinegar, olive oil, mustard

As Lisa posted last week on Pasta Sauces, we always have a hankering to find out what’s happening in everyone else’s kitchen, so we have started the Monday Morning Cooking Corner. Each Monday, we will post one of our own favourite, simple, everyday (getting the picture here?) recipes that we love.
We will then wait for ALL OF YOURS to FLOOD in and fill the comments section below or our FB page or even our email inbox. ALL recipes received during the whole of that week will be posted. We are SO excited to see what everyone else has to offer – we always love a new recipe or a new tip!  Please do share.

Spring has sprung with a kaboom and I’ve been busy exploring new salad recipes to subtly and gently get the family eating lighter meals. But there are days when I just don’t have time to play with 10 vegetables and salad greens, search for micro herbs at the farmers markets and pick the leaves from their stalks. These are the days when I wail the equivalent of “I don’t have anything to wear!!!!” and wind up in a LBD – Little Black Dress – to see me through any occasion. My kitchen equivalent is to turn to my classic French vinaigrette, which can turn any salad leaf, and sometimes yesterday’s left over vegetables, into a stylish, always acceptable salad.

So this week we are making SALAD DRESSINGS. 

 

The makings of my favourite French Vinaigrette

 

Here’s my LBD of salad dressings – the VOOM (vinegar, olive oil, mustard): Mix together in a bowl (or on a plate if I am doing a salad for one) one part red wine vinegar (my favourite is Forum brand), half a teaspoon Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir till combined. Slowly add one part extra virgin olive oil, taste and if it has too much bite, then add an extra part (or two) olive oil. Stir or whisk until emulsified.

So here are some tips and tricks:

1) Most recipes recommend one part vinegar to three parts oil, but I always start with one part vinegar to one part oil, taste, then adjust. You can always add more oil, but you can never take it out. I often find three parts oil dilutes the flavour too much.

2) Use the best quality vinegar you can afford. A little goes a long way, and vinegar never goes off, so you can develop a little pantry collection to choose from. I am seriously addicted to the Forum brand from Spain. It is soft and flavoursome without a grippy bite at the back of the palate. I also use an organic apple cider vinegar, especially after I’ve read someone’s healthy living blog! Apple cider vinegar turns it into a Brittany salad dressing. (Coco Channel loved Deauville, in Brittany, so what could be more classic than that?)

3) Check the use-by-date of your olive oil and taste it for rancidity. Olive oil should always be stored in a cool dark place (your pantry), not on the counter top.  The MMCC girls have been using local Australian Cobram olive oil lately with great success.

4) Your brand of salt can make a difference too. Fleur de Sel is a top grade salt and gives a lovely subtle flavour. (I use Sel de Guerande brand.)

5) A touch of cream will emulsify and hold the dressing very well until serving time. It also makes it all the more decadent for visitors.

6) If you want just a touch of garlic, peel and crush a clove with the flat of a knife, then rub the salad bowl with the garlic and throw out the clove. A soft aroma of garlic will go through the salad without any pungent taste.

7) If you’re in a mad rush, make the dressing at the bottom of your salad bowl, place the salad servers in a cross pattern on top of the dressing, then layer all the salad ingredients ready and waiting for serving time. The servers separate the leaves from the dressing so they don’t go soggy, then you can toss the salad in the last minute.

 

 

, , ,

31 Responses to What We Love About – Salad dressings!

  1. Debbi October 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I did a great dressing on the Friday night’s leftover roasted veggies…
    1/2 cup low fat Greek natural yoghurt
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    Chopped mint
    Salt.
    Whisk together and drizzle over veggies.
    (I added some quinoa and a pile of fresh herbs to the leftover roast veggies to make it a delicious and presentable salad).

    • Lisa Goldberg October 8, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Love the sound of this…and sooooo healthy!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Merelyn Chalmers October 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      That sounds delicious – great idea!

  2. Lisa Goldberg October 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Diane (on FB) has shared this one with us:
    6 tblspns neutral tasting oil, 3 tblespns balsamic vinegar, 1 tblespn pommegranite molasses/sweet soy sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk all ingredients together, delicious.

    • Lisa Goldberg October 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

      Jane (on FB) has shared this great (and simple one to remember) salad dressing:

      Add some crushed garlic to equal amounts of soy sauce, any nice vinegar, olive oil and water. Always a winner!

  3. Jennifer @ Delicieux October 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    You can’t beat a good salad dressing. I love the classic oil and vinegar dressing, but my favourite would have to be a honey and lemon version.

    2 tbs of olive oil
    1 tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3 tsp of honey
    2 tsp of Dijon mustard
    salt and pepper to taste

    I think quality of the ingredients are key in a good dressing, especially the vinegar as a great vinegar can really make a difference.

    • Merelyn October 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      I forgot how good honey can be in a dressing. Thanks for reminding me! I’ve seen maple syrup sometimes too!

  4. Barbara Cohen October 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    I’ve been making this delicious salad dressing for more than 20 years! It’s very yummy!
    It lasts for several weeks in the fridge.

    Lorraine’s Salad Dressing

    Ingredients:
    1 cup white vinegar
    2 cups oil
    3 tsp salt
    1 dessert spoon mustard powder
    pinch of ginger
    3 cloves crushed garlic
    4 heaped dessertspoons sugar
    ½ tsp black pepper
    few drops Tabasco

    Optional:
    2 TBSP mayonnaise
    ¼ sliced onion

    Method:
    Mix all ingredients together in a blender.
    Keeps well in the refrigerator.

    • Merelyn Chalmers October 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Hi Barbara, That sounds like a fabulous dressing. And isn’t it great to have a good quality home made sauce ready-to-go in the fridge?

  5. Lauren October 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    1 garlic clove
    1 tsp dijon mustard
    1 TBSP red wine vinegar
    1 anchovie fillet
    3 TBSP olive oil
    S & P to taste

    In a mini food processor blend the first 4 ingredients. Drizzle in Olive Oil while blending. Sometimes I’ll add a squeeze of lemon juice if it needs a bit of brightening up. You can also replace all of the vinegar for lemon juice and add parmesan cheese to make a quick no egg Caesar dressing.

  6. Merelyn Chalmers October 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Mmmm – I’ve always been a sucker for a good Caesar salad. Have you tasted Ortiz anchovies? They are insanely good!

    • Lauren October 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Ortiz anchovies? No. I haven’t but I’ll be on the lookout for them now!
      Thanks!

      • Merelyn October 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

        Ortiz anchovies are the Rolls Royce of anchovies. Pricey, but a small tin goes a long way!

  7. Barbara Cohen October 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Paw-Paw salad & dressing
    Unusual and very delicious!

    Butter lettuce, washed
    2-3 papayas, peeled, sliced, seeds reserved
    3 avocadoes, sliced
    Cherry tomatoes, halved

    Dressing
    2 TBSP papaya seeds
    ½ cup sugar
    2 tsp salt
    ½ tsp mustard powder
    ½ cup white wine vinegar
    ½ cup oil
    ½ chopped onion

    Mix in blender and pour over salad.

    • Lisa Goldberg October 10, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks Barbara. I’ve never used papaya seeds – what do they taste like?

      • Debbi Weiss October 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

        I’ve made this salad quite a few times – although I don’t put the onion in the dressing, just throw it over the salad. The paw paw seeds are slightly bitter and also nutty in flavour. They look fantastic in the dressing with this salad. But you DO need to put them in the blender – don’t eat whole!

      • Barbara Cohen October 24, 2012 at 8:07 am #

        Hi Lisa
        I haven’t eaten papaya seeds on their own, but as an ingredient in this salad dressing they are essential! As is the onion. To lessen the strong onion flavour a tip that works is to use Spanish (red) onion, which you slice thinly and soak in iced water for a while before using. And Debbi is correct – the papaya seeds and the rest of the ingredients must all be whizzed together in a Magimix or with a hand-held blender.

        Thanks for your creativity in this excellent website!

    • Merelyn October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      I’ve read somewhere that not only are papaya seeds edible, they are also high in an enzyme that tenderises meat – but I’ve never been game enough to try!

  8. Kathy Goldberg October 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Thanks so much for starting the Monday Morning Cooking Corner. What a great way to collect new everyday recipe ideas!

    One of my favourite dressings for spinach and/or rocket salads is to mix together
    1/4-1/2 cup of oil
    1/2 cup tomato sauce
    2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoon sugar

    • Lisa Goldberg October 11, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks Kathy – sounds so great! Must try that one too…xx

    • Merelyn Chalmers October 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

      That sounds really unusual and yummy – thanks Kathy!

  9. Lisa Goldberg October 11, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    And this comes from Valerie via email, also sounds wonderful:

    2 Tablspoons Sunflower Oil
    1 Tablespoon Hazelnut Oil
    1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
    1/2 Tablspoons Creme de Casis
    1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
    lemon juice, sugar, salt/pepper to taste.

    Mix all ingredients together very well. Blend if preferred.

    Delicious!!

  10. Renee October 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Dear MMCC,
    What a fab idea this cooking corner of your is, thankx !

    I make a sushi salad with
    Sushi Rice , cook according to instructions
    Arrange on a square or round platter with a lip.
    Add very coarsely grated carrots, julienned cucumbers, then avocado slices,
    Smoked salmon which I roll and cut in half with a kitchen scissors.
    Sprinkle black sesame seeds ontop (buy roasted from health store or fruit/veg market),otherwise roast your own mixed with plain sesame seeds.
    Optional Cut a sheet of nori into thin slices & sprinkle ontop of salad as well.

    Dressing: (absolutely delicious to compliment this salad)
    1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil & Tablespoon Sesame oil (or just 2 Tablespoons Veg Oil)
    1 Tablespoon Soya Sauce
    1 tsp grated Ginger (fresh is always best else bottled)
    Crushed Garlic fresh else 1 tsp bottled
    In a bottle shake all the above ingredients together, or blend with Bamix.
    I ALWAYS DOUBLE the dressing it’s so yummy !!

  11. Renee October 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I make a Sushi Salad as follows:

    Sushi Rice, cook according to instructions
    Arrange on a square or round platter with a lip.
    Add very coarsely grated carrots, julienne cucumbers, then avocado slices,
    Smoked salmon which I roll and cut in half with a kitchen scissors (can use fresh salmon or tuna)
    Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top (buy roasted from health store or fruit/veg market),otherwise roast your own mixed with plain sesame seeds.
    Optional cut a sheet of Nori into thin slices & sprinkle on top of salad as well.

    Dressing: (absolutely delicious to compliment this salad)
    1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil & Tablespoon Sesame oil (or just 2 Tablespoons Veg Oil)
    1 Tablespoon Soya Sauce
    1 tsp grated Ginger (fresh is always best else bottled)
    Crushed Garlic fresh else 1 tsp bottled
    In a bottle shake all the above ingredients together, or blend with Bamix.
    I ALWAYS DOUBLE the dressing it’s so yummy!!

    Enjoy

    Renée

    • Lisa Goldberg October 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      Wow, thanks Renee for that sushi salad. What a GREAT thing for summer. Thanks for sharing with all of us here at the Cooking Corner! Cheers,
      Lisa

      • Renee October 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

        You’re welcome Lisa, let me know once you’ve tried it and tell me what you think, am happy to hear feedback / opinion !

  12. Melissa October 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    My favourite salad dressing kindly given to me from my Lebanese Christian neighbours who are food-obsessed:

    Fresh lemon juice
    Good quality olive oil
    Freshly ground sea salt

    That’s it. Enjoy!

    ps If you like it sweeter use a meyer lemon which is a lemon-orange hybrid

    • Lisa Goldberg October 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      The simplest things are often best! Lovely, clean and simple – love it.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Cheers
      Lisa

    • Merelyn Chalmers October 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Yum – I love all the lemon flavours of the middle east. Their zingy freshness really suits our summer.

Leave a Reply