Episode 32 Summer Salad Dressings

Salad Dressings are super easy to make. You get to control the quality of the ingredients and it is fun way to play with flavors.

Marie talks about two basic kinds of homemade salad dressings, vinaigrettes and creamy dressings.

Vinaigrettes traditionally have a ratio of two parts oil to 1-part acid. I prefer a little less oil and most of my recipes are ½ cup oil to 1/3 cup acid. The acid can be vinegar (red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider, rice vinegar) or it can be citrus juice (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange.) The oil can be olive oil, avocado, grape seed, walnut, almond.

Simply mix oil and acid in a lidded jar or old dressing bottle with salt and pepper and shake well. This dressing will separate quickly. If you want your dressing to stay emulsified (mixed together) longer you want to add an emulsifier. Mustard and Mayonnaise are common emulsifiers in salad dressings. Mayo will keep the dressing emulsified longer than mustard, but will add creaminess to the vinaigrette.

Sugar is another ingredient that can improve the dressing. It only takes a pinch of sugar or a couple of drops of honey or maple syrup to brighten a dressing. The next time you make a dressing mix it up without adding any sugar and taste it on a lettuce leaf. Then, add a pinch of sugar, mix well, and taste it again. See if you can taste the difference.

Creamy dressings still follow the principle of mixing fat and acid. The acid comes from a variety of ingredients including buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt. If you want your dressing to taste like store-bought, mayonnaise is an essential ingredient. If you are not seeking store-bought flavor, mayonnaise is an optional ingredient.

The key to getting “Ranch” flavor is Dill. You need dill for it to taste like ranch.

My favorite dressing is Blue Cheese. It is a family favorite as well. When making blue cheese dressing you want to make a salt and garlic paste. This allows the salt and garlic to mix evenly throughout the dressing. This video from Splendid Table shows the technique.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 Cup Buttermilk (Watch this video to learn how to make homemade buttermilk.)

¼ Cup Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Dill

1 Tablespoon Chopped Herbs (Thyme, Chives, Basil, Parsley all work well.)

Combine all ingredients in a pint jar and stir well. It will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

Blue Cheese Dressing

1-2 Cloves of Garlic

½ teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

½ Cup Sour Cream

1/3 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles

4 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice from 1 Lemon

Milk or Buttermilk to thin the dressing if you wish.

Make a paste with the salt and garlic. Add the paste and the rest of the ingredients to a half-pint mason jar. Stir together. If the dressing is too thick add milk or buttermilk 1 Tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

You can find my Greek Salad Dressing recipe here.