“perfect” salad dressing every time
Did you know there is a technique to making a perfect delicious and consistently creamy homemade salad dressing? Well there is, and all it takes is mixing together the right ingredients, in the right order, and in the right way.
Select the right ingredients:
A basic dressing consists of Acid + Aromatics + Binder + Oil.
- Acids add tanginess to a light dressing and can be anything from citrus juice to any one of the vinegars you prefer.
- Aromatics are the herbs and spices that give flavor and complexity to your dressing. Fresh herbs degrade quickly; if you use them, eat your dressing within a day of making it.
- Binders are things like dry mustard powder or wasabi powder. They give oils and liquids something to attach – or bind – to so that your dressing does not separate.
- Oils are rich and add a satisfying bit of fat to your dressing. Olive oil can be nice, but walnut and avocado oil can be even better.
Add them in the right order:
For a dressing to combine well (emulsify) you need to add ingredients in the proper order.
- Blend your acids, spices, and binder together well. Do not add the oil until this first part is complete.
- Add your oil in slowly, while whisking the dressing together. Refer to the wrist-twisting section (next) to blend it in perfectly.
- Optional: Add minced garlic or fresh or dried herbs to the dressing once it is completely blended.
When the ingredients are well-combined, pour your dressing into a Mason jar or dressing bottle and keep it refrigerated. It should last a week if you use dried spices and herbs; 1- 2 days if you use fresh herbs.
Finally, blend them in the right way:
“It’s all in the wrist,” they say. With dressings, that’s true. You need to quickly whisk the dressing ingredients together with one hand, while slowly pouring – almost to the point of drizzling – the olive oil in with the other hand. Doing this allows the ingredients to bind together well. Soon, the dressing will pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and the mixture will thicken into a creamy, smooth blend.
Does this process work with any dressing recipe? Yes, even blender recipes…just pour the oil in after the other ingredients have blended well. But, be cautious: blenders can go so quickly they can make your dressing overly-thick.
Basic Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe:
Makes ~1 cup.
For this dressing you could use lemon, lime, orange (navel or blood), grapefruit, or a combination.
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed citrus juice
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp salt freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
Using a whisk, beat all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except oil, until well combined. Slowly whisk in the oil.
Note: you can substitute balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar for the juice in this recipe for a very different flavor.