If you have the following ingredients in your pantry at home you can quickly rustle up a dressing to transform the most basic of fresh greens into a delicious meal or side dish. The quality of dressing will depend on the quality of your two main dressing ingredients: oil & vinegar. Right now I’m loving balsamic vinegar – I got a bottle of white balsamic “Prelibato” from Taste with Gusto at the Howth Market, it is the best I’ve tasted yet. A little drizzle on a seafood salad is devine.
Ballymaloe House in east Cork produces amazing salad greens in their cookery school gardens and they have a range of salad dressings that you can buy in most supermarkets. But for extra freshness and flavour you can easily reproduce their dressings using the recipes below which are credited to the Ballymaloe Cookery School.
Oils for dressing:
- Extra virgin olive
- Cold pressed rapeseed
Vinegars for dressing:
- White Wine
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Cider Vinegar
- Mustards – Whole Grain / Dijon / English
- Garlic cloves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh herbs (if using on the same day)
1) Basic French Dressing (Vinaigrette)
Makes sufficient dressing to dress a salad for 8
10 – 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 – 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2) Honey and Mustard Dressing
Using the vinaigrette dressing above add 4 teaspoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of mustard & 1 small garlic clove, crushed.
3) Mustard Dressing
As with 1) and 2) above then add 1 teaspoon of mustard
4) Herb Vinaigrette
As with 1) and 2) above add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chives etc.)
The secret to a good green salad is a balanced selection of fresh lettuce leaves, salad leaves and herbs. Wash and dry thoroughly, and dress at the very last minute. Don’t drench the leaves, they’ll go limp if they are too wet.