Making a dressing that suits you is all about experimenting to find the one you like. Some salad leaves are bitter and you may prefer a sweeter dressing, others are full of water like iceberg lettuce and you may want an oilier, thicker dressing that clings to the leaves.
1 tablespoon of white wine, cider or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, chopped or pressed finely
A pinch of salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1. Put the vinegar, mustard, garlic clove and a pinch of sea salt and a few grindings of black pepper in a jug, bowl or glass. Whisk or beat with a fork to dissolve the salt. Now add the olive oil, a little at a time, tasting as you go.
2. Stop adding oil when you like it. If you want more punch, add a tiny bit more mustard or a little more vinegar to balance the oil.
3. Pour a little oil over freshly washed and dried leaves just before serving. Mix gently with clean hands to coat each leaf. Add more dressing if you need it but don’t pour it all in, or you will drench those delicate leaves! You can always add more, but you can’t take it back out.
– You can use any other mustard in a dressing: wholegrain or english, but remember that it will change the balance and you may have to add or subtract by adding either oil, vinegar or a little more sugar.
– Mix fresh lemon juice with the balsamic vinegar if you wish or use it instead of the vinegar.
– Add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey to sweeten the dressing.
– Don’t dress the salad early – it will make the leaves go soggy and droopy.
– Store leftover dressing, covered, in the fridge for up to a week or make it in a jam jar with a screw-top lid and shake to mix it.
– Dry lettuce in paper towels or a clean tea towel (or spin them in a salad spinner) – otherwise the water will dilute the dressing.
– Flavour the dressing with chopped herbs or spices like toasted cumin, coriander or fennel seeds, chilli oil or chopped chilli.
Photograph copyright foodpixies.com
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