Back in my days of working in restaurants I remember numerous tableside interactions that went something like this:
Me: Did you need more time, or have you decided?
Guest: Yes, I’m having the house salad. And can you please have them leave off the croutons. I’m really watching what I’m eating.
Me: Of course, and what dressing would you like?
Guest: Buttermilk Ranch!
So you’ve made up your mind to start eating better. More salads you’ve decided. So you arrange the perfectly washed bed of crisp greens. The plump, juicy tomatoes. You’ve put your chef hat on and found the right flavor profile with pears, red onions, and dried cherries.
Why smother all that deliciousness?
The origins of what we know as a salad can be traced back centuries. The word Sal, latin for salt, which led to salata, or “salted things”. The Greeks used vinegar on vegetables as well. Americans came to know salads around the turn of the century and over time ways to flavor them have swelled to that of entire aisles of shelves. I believe all the years of serving soaked, overly dressed salads encouraged me to change the way I eat, and even view the salad course itself.
ON THE SIDE
Every once in awhile I do like a bottled dressing. Just to put it out there, my favorite is Catalina. Really. On the day-to-day though, I’ve come to only prefer to dress the ingredients in oil, a little salt & pepper and some vinegar.
That’s a base to add upon. Some days it’s a little mustard. Crushed garlic on others. Olive oil is considered the good fats, the monounsaturated fats, or MUFA’s.
Below are some of my recommendations to keep on hand for some serious salad envy.
- Olive Oil – A good quality. I don’t believe in breaking the bank, but neither going bargain basement either.
- Balsamic Vinegar – Keeping with the same logic as above, once you’ve come up with the right ratio together you’ll get a dressing people will want to sell for you. 👉Look for the color, it will be a very specific shade of brown.
- Red Wine Vinegar – No you won’t catch a buzz, it doesn’t contain alcohol.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – While the benefits of this one are widely debated, my cabinet is never without it.
- Dijon Mustard – When you have people over, this addition will take your dressing to restaurant level.
Lemon, lime, cilantro, you name it. Dress it up well and let the ingredients shine through.
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