Saturday, July 25, 2009

French Dressing

Well, I want to kick off salad week with something that I use a lot. I think it is a good base for what we will be doing and I wanted to be sure that everyone has the same advantage I have. I think one of life's simple basic skills is learning how t make salad dressing from scratch.

One experience I remember with great fondness is the joy I had making gallons and gallons of salad dressing at the resort to go on seemingly endless plates of salad. That is where I first learned how to make Homemade Ranch Dressing . Ironically it wasn't something I picked up at culinary school, even though I'm almost certain it was covered...I might have been flirting during that lecture. At any rate, being involved with banquets was very labor intensive. Oh...I don't miss that at all. Honestly. Granted, the opportunity was invaluable in my salad dressing experience, it's not one I relished. No pun intended. If you've never had homemade French Dressing, you are in for a shock. It's not at all like the stuff you get in jars. I think the flavor is immensely better. Personally, I'd take the home made dressing any day on just a simple salad. I had one today. I make much smaller batches of salad dressing now. This one makes just about a cup of dressing. Perfect for the average family. Cost wise, it's pennies compared to dollars that you may spend on a jar of commercially prepared dressing. It's saved my budget on many occasions. You may be shocked to see what is on the list. You probably already have it in your house. So...let's make salad dressing.

French Dressing
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp garlic powder (or one fresh clove pressed)
1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
3/4 cup salad oil
1 T minced onion

I combine the dry ingredients in jar with a tight fitting lid.

Add the vinegar (I had to put in a shameless plug for this apple cider vinegar that I love. I think it's divine), oil, onion and seal tightly.

Shake and shake. I try to get at least 2 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. least salad dressing related exercise.

Now the secret to amazing salads...lightly toss the dressing with the salad. I only use about 3T of dressing to a head of lettuce. Just for flavor and a little sheen. Oh never overpower the salad with dressing. It's meant to add dimension, not take center stage.
In the words of one of my mentors, "It's a garnish, not a hair-do". Meaning...keep it as an accent not as the focus.
French Dressing is the base of a lot of the dressings I make. I will share some great details about how to make the fat free varieties as well. You won't want to miss out. We'll see you later this week when I share more of the salad making world.


Shellee said...

I'm going to have to try this out, we have some awesome recipes using French Dressing and I bet they would make the recipes better!!!!

Olivia said...

Could I use dehydrated Cannery onions?


Jana said...

This makes my mouth water. I'm totally going to try it this week.

Chef Tess said...

Shellee...Yes! You go for it! Yes can use the dehydrated onions. It will take a day or two for the flavor to be full, but it will work. Jana, love you! As always!

Tina ♥ said...

I just made it. Smells yummO! Can't wait to try a little of it on some greens! Thanks!