June 1, 2012
It sort of surprises me now, but from a young age (I think I was about eight) my mom always let me make the salad dressing for dinner. It was usually some variation of Italian, sometimes creamy, sometimes not, but it always made me feel important.
All my concoctions included red wine vinegar; because that’s the only type of vinegar my mom bought back in the day. I figured out early on that if I mixed the vinegar with some type of citrus it would taste better. I also realized that I needed an equal ratio of fat or oil to even it out.
This was before every kitchen had extra virgin olive oil on hand, I was generally working with some type of Pritikin Diet approved oil like safflower or canola. As I upped my game, I started adding a bit of Dijon or mayo to the mix. Who knew that all those moments at the kitchen counter over the years would lead to my lifelong passion of tinkering, creating and loving food? Because of this, I’m a huge supporter of including my children in preparing dinners.
When you are dressing a salad, try using only half of what you think you need. Toss the salad well, then taste the leaves. Usually, that’s the right amount. It’s easy to get carried away with adding too much dressing, and then you end up with a sloppy mess and you can’t taste those gorgeous greens. Have faith that you can always add more if needed.
Here’s my go-to sherry vinaigrette dressing:
Perfect Sherry Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
First, mix the acids with salt. Then whisk in the olive oil. Just before serving, add the thyme leaves and crack fresh pepper over the finished salad. If you add the thyme leaves too early, they will brown.
Tip: The ratios in this dressing are low because I don’t like to keep dressing overnight. This recipe makes is enough to dress a family-sized salad, but you can always double the recipe if you have a larger group.