Easy Salad Dressings

Recipe by Nancy Johnson

Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Yes, Virginia Woolf, I agree. I always feel I’ve dined well when salad is served for dinner, especially in summer.

Salads have been at the dinner table since the ancient Romans prepared fresh greens tossed with oil and vinegar. Today, a salad can be as simple as in classic Rome, as nostalgic as old Hollywood or as unexpected as a Madras Curry.

When making a salad, use your imagination and whatever ingredients you have on hand. Then lightly toss with one of the following easy dressings.

Basic vinaigrette:

1/3 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.

I like to add a little sugar (a pinch or more) to take the edge off the vinegar, but it’s optional.

Creamy dressing:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper.

Whisk together.

French dressing:

3 TBS ketchup
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 TBS cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil.

Gary: Think of wines with acidity to stand up to the dressings and fresh flavors to handle the astringency of the greens. You can find both whites and reds that fit this category, and sparkling wines and dry rosés should not be overlooked. If you’re serving protein with the salad, lean toward a wine that works with the protein while considering the rest of the ingredients that might challenge your wine flavors. Experiment and see what you like, remembering that the freshness of wine and ingredients is a happy pairing.

 

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