It’s easy to make your own personalized salad dressings. The basic ratio of sour, sweet and oil is easily modified and infinitely variable. This recipe makes enough for several salads because it’s just as easy to make a lot as a little and, once you taste your own dressings, you won’t be able to get enough.
Yield: About 2 cups
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup any vinegar, lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup, or jelly
1 heaping Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 heaping Tablespoon any fresh herb (optional)
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Simply decide which ingredients you’d like to use and then measure everything into a Mason jar and shake vigorously until combined. Your personalized dressing will stay fresh in your refrigerator for several weeks, if it lasts that long.
1. Sherry Maple: sherry vinegar and maple syrup
2. Fennel Balsamic: balsamic vinegar, honey and ground fennel seed
3. Raspberry: red wine vinegar and raspberry jelly
4. Italian: red wine vinegar, no sweetener, minced garlic, oregano and thyme
5. Caesar: lemon juice, no sweetener, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
6. Caribbean: lime zest and juice, honey and shredded coconut
7. Southwestern: lime zest and juice, honey, cilantro and hot sauce
8. Vanilla: white wine vinegar, honey and pure vanilla extract
9. Goat Cheese: 1 small 5 oz log of goat cheese, 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, and sprinkle or two of salt and pepper, puréed smooth
10. Tomato: 1 large ripe local tomato puréed with the zest and juice of 2 lemons and 1/2 cup of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
This classic salad has come a long way because its 1924 invention by Caesar Cardini at his Tijuana restaurant. It’s now found on virtually every menu in the country—at home and in restaurants. Because there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about authenticity, just flavour. My version includes the wonderfully aromatic addition of whole basil leaves.