Monday, 9 January 2012

Dress it up!


Last week we talked about Salads and their construction. It’s a wonderful time of year to be savouring salads and Salads are only complete when served with a dressing. Dressings come in two general categories: creamy or vinaigrette. Creamy dressings are based on something heavy like sour cream, cream, cheese or some combination of all these ingredients, flavoured with herbs and spices. Popular options include the Ranch and Thousand Island Dressings. Thinner dressings include the Olive oil, French dressing and the Vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are based on oil and vinegar and accented with herbs and spices.

The formula for a Vinaigrette is = ACIDIC INGREDIENT + OIL + SALT + FLAVOURING + OPTIONAL SWEETENER. To make your dressing start by blending your oil with pinches of any other flavourings thoroughly combine, then drizzle in acidic ingredient blending with a whisk all the time either with a wire whisk or in a blender. Once you have this formula in place, you can use it to get really creative. 

 ACIDIC INGREDIENT – the souring agent, you can use acidic fruit juices like lemon or orange, cranberry or even natural vinegars like red wine, white wine, champagne, apple cider, rice wine or balsamic vinegars.
OIL – is the element that carries flavour, which is why it is very important in dressings. A little goes a long way. Experiment with extra-virgin olive oils, exotic nut and seed oils and even flavoured oils. 

SALT - You wouldn’t think so but salt can be varied as well. Try sea salt, rock salt or salty condiments in place of salt like Soy sauce and Thai fish sauce or even anchovies and salty cheeses. 

FLAVOURINGS – The most obvious one is pepper of course but you can also use other spices in combination or instead of pepper. Other options include fresh and dried herbs, garlic, ginger and citrus zest.

OPTIONAL SWEETENER - The optional sweet ingredient is something I like to add to balance the other flavours, try honey, sugar, sweet fruit juices, syrups.
Salads Dressings can be delicious but also full of calories! Dress for Less with Nature’s Basket range of low fat dressings.

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