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Salad Dressings


Salads can be healthy, satisfying meals on their own or perfect accompaniments to main dishes but just as every good man needs a good woman and vice-versa, so a good salad deserves a good dressing. There are an abundance of these to be found to suit everyone’s taste  and this week I have taken the liberty of including three of my favourites.
British salad dressings are not a recent innovation. Chefs, cooks, housewives and hosts in general have been mixing their own preparations since the Roman times. There has even been poetry written about them. The following  was penned by Sydney Smith, clergyman. writer and founder of the Edinburgh Review. (1771 –1845). This poem was also reproduced in the book Common Sense in The Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery by Marion Harland, a pen name of Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune, The book sold over 10 million copies and was the most successful American cookbook at the end of the 19th century. Although I have yet to try the recipe, I note that he recommends tossing the finished article with his fingers – my preferred method. Of course this is a job to be performed in the privacy of the kitchen before serving:

Two boiled potatoes strained through a kitchen sieve,
Softness and smoothness to the salad give;
Of mordant mustard take a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites too soon!
Yet deem it not, thou man of taste, a fault
To add a double quantity of salt.
Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
And twice with vinegar procured from town;
True taste requires it and your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two well-boiled eggs.
Let onion's atoms lurk within the bowl
And, scarce suspected, animate the whole,
And lastly in the flavoured compound toss
A magic spoonful of anchovy sauce.
Oh, great and glorious! Oh, herbaceous meat!
'Twould tempt the dying Anchorite to eat,
Back to the world he'd turn his weary soul
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl.

Being unable to wax as lyrical as Mr Sydney Smith, here simply are my ttwo of my favourite dressings.

Lemon &Mustard Vinaigrette
Yields 6 tablespoons, enough (probably too much) for a great big salad bowl of greens
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Option 1: combine all ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified.
Option 2: Combine the lemon juice, mustard and salt in a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuosly.
Taste and adjust the salt, and add more lemon juice or olive oil to achieve a pleasing balance of acidity.
There are two advantages to adding a significant amount of mustard to a vinaigrette. The first is obvious: it tastes good. The second is that it acts as an emulsifier, keeping the oil suspended in the vinegar. When made this way, you can get away with combining all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and simply shaking well.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons grated onions
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Directions:
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk, mixing well.
Add remaining ingredients mixing thoroughly.
Must refrigerate for 24 hours before serving for best flavor
Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon Colmans dry mustard powder
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper
Directions:
Blend honey and mustard in a small bowl with a fork until emulsified.
Drizzle in the balsamic vinegar until dressing is just thin enough to pour over salad.
Taste and add more vinegar if desired.
Mix in dressing and drizzle on salad.

Enjoy
 

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