Dress Me Slowly

Spring time. Salad time.

Kid and I have made a list of some of our favourite salad dressings to help  keep your salads interesting and lively during the warmer months.

*The House – This is a dressing that you and the kids can totally personalise to your own tastes. Great for simple chopped salads like a crisp garden or Greek style salad.
1 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons mustard, a pinch of sugar.
Blend well. Store in the fridge for up to a month.

Variations of the ‘House’.
Olive oil could be replaced with coconut, avocado, pumpkin seed or combinations. Some oils are very strong, hazelnut for example, so you might use a little hazelnut with some olive oil.
Use whatever vinegar takes your fancy – apple cider, sherry, red or white wine, black or white balsamic, raspberry, plum. Each will give a its own unique flavour.
And again for the mustard, choose your own. I recommend a Dijon or seeded but French or American or even that nice little home-made number you picked up from the Farmers markets on the Sunday drive will go well. Avoid Hot English mustard.

*Little Cahn Tho –  Zesty Viet Style Vinaigrette – great for bbq chicken salads, noodle salads or of course for a Viet style slaw.
10 cloves garlic (yep,10) 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 spring onions – sliced.
Sweat the garlic in half the olive oil until soft, brown and nutty. Place in a blender with fish sauce, lime juice and spring onions. Blitz, slowly adding the rest of the olive oil. Refrigerate.

*Tahini, Yoghurt and Mint. We like some good chunky green vegetables in our salad – broccoli, blanched green beans, zucchini etc.. This dressing adds a whole new appeal and kids should dig it too. Mine does. A good substitute to oil based dressings.
1 tablespoon unhulled tahini, 125 g natural or Greek yoghurt, juice from 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon cold water. Whisk entirely well.

*Berry Nice – Passionfruit pulp mixed with a little vincotto and finely sliced basil is a great accompaniment to any fruit salad, particularly berries and melons.Shake It Up – Balsamic, Olive Oil, Garlic. The better the balsamic and oil, the better your dressing. 3 parts oil to one part vinegar and a few slices of garlic for flavour. Place ingredients in a jar. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Avoid serving the raw garlic, just leave it to steep for a while before serving.*Warm Tomato Vinaigrette – Think grilled fish, chopped crispy cos and bbq potatoes. 1 punnet cherry tomatoes (or grape or bella rossa) cut in half, 1 teaspoon chopped capers, 1 tablespoon fine diced red onion, 1/3 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, pinch of salt, cracked black pepper. Warm all the ingredients except the parsley gently until the tomatoes are just tender. Add the parsley and spoon over your lovely salad.

*The Queenslander – Spicy Avocado Dressing for seafood salads, crab sandwiches and  prawn cocktails – Take a small ripe avocado and blend it with 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup, 1 teaspoon tobasco (optional, think of the kids, you can always put some on your own meal), Juice of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt. Use this one straight away. *Texan Ranch – Take one cup of garlic mayo , add 100ml buttermilk, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth – serve with chicken wings. That’s kind of like salad. Also great for a Caesar.

*The Adonis – Feta, lemon and parsley make a great dressing for anything bbq’d. Particularly chicken, lamb and vegetables. Also goes great on some green leaves and green vegetables. Add some dukkah to the mix to go to the next level. 100gm feta, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, 2 tablespoon chopped parsley. Blend all but the parsley and then add that last. Feta will vary between styles in salt content. Try it first.  If its super salty, sit it in cold water for 30 mins before using to leach some of the saltiness out.*Fuji Yummy– Sesame-Miso Dressing. This is perhaps a bit off the beaten track for some, but give it a go. It is one of my favourite things. Kid likes it too, but was a little apprehensive at first. You’ll find it in this previous post.

What Kids Can Do

Kids tend to not want salad dressing when they’re very little, but as they get a little bigger they become more curious. A good dressing or mayo can help encourage those greens to get eaten too. We had a stage where salad just could not be served without our ranch dressing. The oilier dressings are probably the ones they’ll avoid, but a yoghurt or creamy dressing can work wonders.Having said that, there’s still no reason they can’t help out with the measuring and mixing of a salad dressing. Some of them, the ‘house’ for example could even become a kids job. People coming over? Who’s making the dressing?So let them get amongst it as always. Your guests will remember a well made salad dressing and probably ask for the recipe.

Send ’em Cook and Kid’s way 😉

Happy Cooking



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