Posted by: tabliope | June 12, 2008

dressing up

Salads.  What do you about getting the best dressed salad?  I've become a bit poncy about the old olive oil and worry that I'm going to end up spending more on that than I do on wine.  But given that one has forked out a fair bit for something that's been hand-pressed by virgins in the Tuscan sunshine and then bottled lovingly by pixies is it fair to start interfering with it?

If the paragraph before was poncy then now comes the screaming middle-class bit – my normal salad dressing would consist of one of my many vinegars – let's say an apple balsamic for the sake of the Good Food Guide.  Anyway, I'd do three times the amount of oil to vinegar and there would be some mashed garlic, a bit of shallot and some fancy mustard as well.  Then I'd whisk it in a big bowl and add the salad to that and then toss (with my aged,  Native American , hand-turned, elm salad servers). 

Then I put the fish fingers on the plate and drizzle the baked beans across. 

But seriously.  Any good salad dressing recipes would be much appreciated.

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Responses

  1. I think that actually less than 3-1 vinegar is nicer.  and put half balsamic half white wine vinegar.  and then salt and pepper.  The less junk in there, the better.  Although mustard plus brown sugar makes a nice addition to a vinaigrette.

  2. I just use olive oil, pepper and lemon juice and keep adjusting the quantities til it tastes delicious. I feel so unrefined.

  3. Yours sounds much nicer than mine.  Mine’s just the straightforward olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, s&p combo.  I’m going to keep an eye out for “apple balsamic”y stuff.

  4. I’m a salad dressing philistine I’m afraid – slosh of olive oil, slosh of balsamic and it’s gnerally ok (for my standards)Though – living in NY I have to say the choice of salad dressing is crazy – I stood dazed for about 10 minutes trying to pick one the other day (and ended up getting oil and balsamic for the DIY option)

  5. [this is good] I like 2:1, or even less. I use regular extra virgin olive oil ( Colavita or Pompeian), but spend the big bucks on a good 16 year old balsamic. Some coarse sea salt, fresh black pepper, mustard I grind at home, and a few capers. Tastes best the next day.

  6. thanks for all this stuff – I’d never thought of capers and now I’m wondering if I should try some of the much older balsamic too – I use lemon sometimes too Fox – it works very well with asparagus Oink, you should be able to find some in a deli or waitrose but if you have any probs then I’d be happy to send you some.  Gamba is it the very dark brown sugar you use? 

  7. My salad dressing is v similar to yours except minus the shallots and plus S&P.  I made a lovely potato salad on Sunday with chopped mint, chives and parsley with the salad dressing on it, although I made it slightly oilier so the vinegar didn’t overpower the mint etc.

  8. Soft brown sugar is OK but dark brown muscovado gives it a little je ne sais quoi.
    I have just bought the most expensive bottle of balsamic I have ever bought and I must say it makes a big difference.

  9. 3:1 ratio for salad dressing. Any oil and any vinegar, though if I’ve got a good oil I never use anything other than organic lemons. I stick in good mustard, sometimes garlic. I never put balsamic on salad- always on the side- I just find it too heavy for salad, but great for bread and dipping, and occasionally drizzling over summer fruits, but then I’m a freak.  
    I tend to bung in any fresh herbs I have at hand in my salad dressing. (or not so fresh, more wilted….)
    I love Jamie’s caesar dressing. garlic, anchovy fillets, oil, lemon juice and creme fraiche.  

  10. That’s very sweet of you, thank you, although I should be able to find it.

  11. Heinz make some stuff called Salad Cream that I find rather acceptable 🙂

  12. *shudders*
    although, I am quite partial to a bit of sweet chilli sauce on the side.

  13. I’m too lazy to make my own. And we both love Cardini’s Caesar Salad dressing, so we just get that.
    My mum used to make a mean french vinaigrette though. I’m just too lazy!

  14. RG – I don’t think it’s lazy, it’s more that you prioritise.  You make things that I wouldn’t necessarily bother with like icecream.  Chaotic – I have a secret love of salad cream and chips.  Minks – I too like the balsamic vinegar on strawbs – and pepper on strawberries is lovely.  Jando – I think that sounds like a fab potato salad which I’m stealing for the BBQ which we’ve been invited to next weekend – although I suspect the local population will faint in horror at potato salad not dressed in mayo.

  15. My favourite lately has been 3 tbsp to 1 virgin olive oil/cider vinegar with about 1 1/2 teaspoons French mustard, 1 crushed clove garlic, a tiny spot of sugar, a good grind of black pepper – and then I add in about a tablespoon or so of creme fraiche and/or (depending on what’s in the fridge) a big dollop of live natural yoghurt – in a screw top jar and give a good shake.  It clings beautifully to salad leaves and is scrummy for potato salad, or drizzled on fish, or even on thin toast with slivers of strong cheddar.  Keep well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
    But I’ll probably change my mind next week.


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