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.
[box]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.[/box]
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.