Making homemade dressing is a breeze. If you’ve got oil, vinegar and a willingness to experiment, you’ll be serving up your signature blend in no time. Not feeling creative? Try one of our tasty, tried-and-true combinations.
Photo By Tim Nauman
A good vinaigrette is basically just the result of good oil (1 to 2 parts) meeting good vinegar or citrus juice (1 part), plus a little seasoning. Though it’s best to balance bitter greens with sweet dressings and vice versa, there are few hard rules to follow when it comes to blending your own dressing. Experiment with quality ingredients using the guidelines below, or try one of the delicious recipes for homemade salad dressings below.
Oil. Use extra virgin olive oil with a bright, fruity flavor. Often, the darker green the oil is, the better its flavor. Many farmer’s markets and grocery stores have olive oil tasting stations. Test a few and pick your favorite. If the oil tastes good on plain bread, it’ll be great on greens. The bold flavors of sesame and nut oils also stand out in homemade dressings.
Vinegar. Wine vinegars are classic in vinaigrettes, but ciders and balsamics work well, too. Opt for an aged balsamic if you want a rich, sweet dressing.
Salt. Sea salt is much more flavorful than table salt, and a coarse grind adds texture to dressings. Try various flavored or smoked salts for different effects.
Pepper. You can experiment with any of the many kinds of peppercorns, but the key to delicious seasoning is always freshness. Buy whole peppercorns and use a grinder.
Garlic and Herbs. Be generous with seasonally available fresh herbs, and add finely diced fresh or roasted garlic to taste.
Additional Seasonings. Play around to find the combo that’s destined to become your signature household recipe. Classic standbys include mustard, sugar, olives, anchovies, smashed berries and various cheeses. Add a little of something that entices you, taste and adjust. You might consider substituting citrus juice for vinegar or bacon grease for oil.
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