How to Make a Fool-Proof Salad Dressing

Oddly enough, most of the people I know ask me for the recipe of our salad dressing. Almost everyone seems to fail to understand the basic precept of a successful dressing: vinegar & mustard first, then whisk the chosen oil. Add salt, pepper and spices of your liking.

The worst thing one can do is to buy a bottle of dressing: unless it’s a top notch product, without additives, the choice on the supermarket shelves is poor. Read the labels and see for yourself. Some of the ingredients used I have never heard of, and the amount of chemicals is alarming. It’s insanity! All one needs is a bowl, a whisk, little mustard, a good vinegar and some oil, salt & pepper and fresh herbs if available. And elbow grease, although it can be done easily with a blender. I use one.

I use wholegrain mustard flavored with honey or Guinness. The honey one is more difficult to obtain though all you have to do is to add a spoonful of honey to the 4 tablespoons of mustard. The Guinness one adds a little bitterness which is good if you are making a wild leaf salad with spicy chicken or smoked pork. But I digress. Here is how I make mine, enough for the week: in the blender I put in 4 peeled garlic cloves, 4 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard (flavored with honey), a few sprigs of coriander (cilantro) and basil, one cup of raspberry vinegar, a pinch of turmeric (readers of my blog will have noticed that I tend to stick turmeric in almost anything, well, except in my coffee. Turmeric has incredible curative powers and a godsend if you are a smoker), salt & pepper to taste, and a spoonful of honey if you haven’t managed to get it in the mustard, and now that you have assembled all these ingredients into your blender, give it a whirl. When it’s all mixed, with the blender still on, slowly add one and a half cup of sunflower oil (do not use olive oil unless you have to because it’s not as easy to digest, is expensive and may repeat on you) and about 6 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil. Sesame oil? The oomph it gives to the dressing is magical, and lingers on the roof of your palate.

The dressing should be smooth, covering the back of the spoon nicely, and tart to taste, with a faint sesame kick. If you like it hot, you can add fresh (seeded) chilies. There you have it, my standard salad dressing! You can substitute the raspberry vinegar with a good red wine vinegar or use lemon juice instead, and change the spices to suit your taste, but the process is always the same; vinegar & mustard first! Then oil.

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