25/03/2014

3 Salad Dressings: "Everything" Sauce, Dijon Dressing and Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette

Somewhere around the end of March I usually make the switch from soup to salad. After a long winter of slurping up pureed vegetable concoctions, I'm very ready for the fresh crunch of a good bowl of a greens. And while the making of a salad is definitely an art form, I'm quite content with a simple serving of mixed leaves as long as they're dressed properly.
I never buy salad dressing. I honestly can't remember the last time I did. Too expensive and too full of the unnecessary/the unknown for my liking. Plus, making your own is far too easy not to.

There are three dressings that I make more than any others. The first I call "Everything" Sauce because it works well with most things (as a marinade for fish or chicken, as a dipping sauce for dumplings and as a dressing for grilled vegetables). It also combines a great number of flavours in one place: sweet, sour, spicy, salty, etc. It's very addictive and very powerful stuff, full of fresh ginger and garlic, with a definite asian-fusion vibe.

The second is a classic and very French Dijon Mustard Dressing. This dressing is inspired by my favourite steak frites restaurant in Paris. There is no dinner menu at Relais de l'Entrecote. You simply tell your waiter how you want your steak cooked and while it's being prepared, you're served a pretty little bowl of leaves dressed in a very assertive mustard vinaigrette. There's no sweetness in this dressing; it's all about the spicy tang of good dijon. I recreated it at home and always serve it when I'm dreaming of Paris (too often).

The third is a real staple for me. A dependable Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette that works well when serving salad as a side dish as it doesn't overpower other flavours. This dressing has an Italian heart (thanks to the balsamic vinegar) and acts as a bright, acidic counterpoint to rich, cheesy pastas.

These dressings can all be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Each recipe makes enough to dress a large salad for 4-6 people (about 6 large handfuls of greens).

"Everything" Sauce
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
The juice of half a lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
A few dashes of Thai fish sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend. Allow to rest for 5 minutes to allow flavours to meld before serving.

Dijon Dressing
1 Tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to blend.

Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
The juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to blend.

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