Monday, October 31, 2011

The Dressing Makes the Salad

I have a challenge for you: never buy a bottle of salad dressing again.  Or at least try this dressing, and then think about it.  Store bought salad dressing is a money guzzler, can sometimes be full of preservatives, and isn't as good as homemade salad dressing.  Also, making your own salad dressing is easy and takes barely any time!  Most of the ingredients are probably already in your fridge!  When I moved back home after college I stopped eating preservatives entirely.  This recipe for dressing is a creation of my dad's.  It is amazing and it has evolved over time.  I absolutely love this dressing... it seriously makes me want to eat salad every day.

My dad has taught me how to eat well and also shown me what is worth taking the time to prepare and where the shortcuts are worth taking.  Lettuce is absolutely, positively NOT one of them.  Buy heads of lettuce people!  And wash it yourself!  Invest in a cheap salad spinner and dry it properly.  This ensures that your salad will not be soggy... so essential for a good salad.  I know it's not always fun to make salad, but you can do this step at night and grab it in the morning.  Also, if you store lettuce in a bag keep  the bag unsealed.  This allows the lettuce to breathe without a bunch of condensation getting all over everything and the lettuce going bad.  Yep, that's my official explanation for lettuce storage.  Anyway, take the extra time to take care of your lettuce.  Also, buying a head of lettuce is cheaper than the pre-washed, pre-bagged stuff, and it will get you through more meals.

After you have your lettuce, you must pick your favorite veggies to go accompany it.  My preferred salad has roasted beets (wrap a beet in aluminum foil and cook at 450 for 1 hour or until tender and peel after you cook under water), sliced radishes, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese.  You could roast some chicken breasts, add feta cheese, olives, mushrooms, whatever!  Make it nice and hearty so you'll be filled and satisfied, or else it's just not worth it!

And now, onto the star attraction: the dressing!  Combine 1/3 of a cup of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced shallots, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1 cup olive oil, and 1 egg yolk into a bowl.  Whisk very well or shake to emulsify in a sealed jar.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  In my opinion, the egg yolk adds incredible depth to the dressing and another layer of flavor, but it makes the dressing spoil quicker.  So, if you have a family or a bunch of friends coming, make it with the egg yolk.  But if you're making it on Sunday for the week, omit the egg yolk.  It will last longer this way.  Honestly, it tastes amazing either way!  You can also use champagne vinegar, add a little lemon juice, whatever!  Homemade salad dressings are so easy to experiment with and they are so much better than the ones in the bottle!  I am so glad my dad taught me how to make this dressing... it will always be my go-to salad dressing  What is your favorite homemade salad dressing?

Dad's Salad Dressing
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk


  1. I actually LOVE making my own fact I think the best dressing is just lemon juice and EVOO. Yum!

    On another note - it was so great meeting you on Wednesday and hope to see you again soon!

  2. That makes me so happy, Tabitha! I will have to try the lemon juice and EVOO idea. Simplicity can sometimes be the best :) It was great meeting you too!