Salad Dressings

Salad Dressings

A simple vinaigrette is all you need to dress a salad of greens. Made from a mixture of oil, vinegar and seasonings, vinaigrettes are very easy to prepare and store indefinitely in the refrigerator. Aside from their classic use of salads, vinaigrettes also make great marinades and sauces.

To make a simple vinaigrette, use a small jar, such as an old mustard jar, combine salt and ground black pepper. Add vinegar, cover and shake until the salt has dissolved. Add the oil, cover and shake again until the ingredients are combined. The oil and vinegar will eventually separate, so shake the mixture just before using. A good ration of ingredients is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste.

A smooth vinaigrette is made by using your favorite vinaigrette recipe, combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add 1 ice cube. Shake vigorously, then discard the ice cube. If emulsified vinaigrette is required, add a small amount of prepared or powdered mustard, paprika or ground nuts. Any of these ingredients will help keep the oil and vinegar from separating.

When using salad dressing as a marinade, marinate poultry or seafood in Italian or any garlic-and-herb dressing. Use a tomato-based dressing for pork or beef. Ranch dressings add richness to fish and white meat chicken. Mayonnaise-based dressings develop a tangy crust when used to marinate a grilled chicken breast or veal chop. You can also baste barbecued meats with salad dressing instead of using barbecue sauce.

In a vinaigrette, yogurt could also be used to replace sour cream. Just reduce the amount of vinegar slightly in the dressing to balance out the yogurt's natural acidity.

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