Sim­ple recipes dress up your sal­ads

Marvel at the dif­fer­ence fresh dress­ings make

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - SU­SAN SCHWARTZ

A salad is only as good as its com­po­nent parts. Fresh, qual­ity in­gre­di­ents are cru­cial, sure, but the dress­ing makes the dif­fer­ence be­tween a salad that’s just all right and one that wows. Here are some recipes from Louise Pick­ford’s lovely new vol­ume, The Per­fectly Dressed Salad (Ry­land Peters & Small). The book fea­tures sim­ple-to-fol­low recipes for more than 50 dress­ings, in­clud­ing vinai­grettes, herbed, fruity, in­fused and warm dress­ings. It’s slim enough not to take up a huge amount of space on the kitchen counter — and would make a fine host­ess gift.

Blue Cheese

Makes 1 scant cup (250 mL) This dress­ing is clas­sic with chilled ice­berg or ro­maine, but it works well with any green leaf salad fea­tur­ing cel­ery, ap­ple, pear or mixed nuts, writes Pick­ford. She used St. Agur, which is milder than Gor­gonzola or Ro­que­fort, but rec­om­mends that you use the blue cheese you like best. 1/3 cup (80 mL) sour cream 1/4 cup (60 mL) creamy blue cheese 1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vine­gar 2 tsp (10 mL) just-boiled wa­ter 2 tbsp (30 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh chives

Salt and pep­per to taste

Place the sour cream, cheese, vine­gar, wa­ter and a lit­tle salt and pep­per in a blender and blend un­til fairly smooth. Add the oil and blend some more. Stir in the chives, ad­just sea­son­ing to taste and serve.

Herbed Lab­neh

Makes 1 scant cup (250 mL) Lab­neh is a thick­ened yo­gurt pop­u­lar in the Mid­dle East and eastern Mediter­ranean, where it can of­ten be found on a mezze plat­ter. Thick Greek yo­gurt works, too. 1/2 cup (125 mL) lab­neh or thick Greek yo­gurt 2 tbsp (30 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh herbs, such as co­rian­der, mint and pars­ley 2 tsp (10 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) clear honey

1/4 tsp (1 mL) smoked pa­prika

Salt and pep­per to taste

Place all in­gre­di­ents in a blender and blend un­til smooth. Ad­just sea­son­ings to taste and serve.

This dress­ing is lovely with a salad of new potato, radic­chio, smoked sal­mon and beets, Pick­ford writes.

Green God­dess

Makes 1 cup (250 mL) plus 1 tbsp (15 mL)

This dress­ing, named for its lovely pale green colour, was prob­a­bly de­vel­oped at San Fran­cisco’s Palace Ho­tel in 1923. Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, the ex­ec­u­tive chef wanted to hon­our Ge­orge Arliss and his hit play, The Green God­dess. It is a vari­a­tion of a sauce by a chef to Louis XII. Use any com­bi­na­tion of fresh herbs you like. Won­der­ful as a dress­ing for a summer salad fea­tur­ing let­tuce and cold crab or lob­ster. 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as pars­ley, tar­ragon and chives 1 white an­chovy fil­let in oil, drained and chopped 1 green onion, trimmed and chopped

1 small gar­lic clove, crushed 2/3 cup (160 mL) may­on­naise 2 tbsp (30 mL) milk

1 tbsp (15 mL) white vine­gar

Salt and pep­per to taste

Place in­gre­di­ents in a blender and blend un­til smooth. Ad­just sea­son­ing to taste and serve.

Cae­sar Dress­ing

Makes 3/4 cup (180 mL) There are as many ver­sions of this dress­ing as there are peo­ple who make it. Pick­ford likes it to taste of an­chovy, but rec­om­mends that you use as much or as lit­tle as you like. 1 egg 1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vine­gar 2 to 4 an­chovy fil­lets in oil, drained and chopped

1 gar­lic clove, crushed 1 tsp (5 mL) Worces­ter­shire sauce 1/2 cup (125 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly grated Parme­san cheese

Salt and pep­per to taste

Boil the egg for 3 min­utes, then im­me­di­ately plunge it into cold wa­ter. Re­move shell and place egg in a blender. Add the vine­gar, an­chovies, gar­lic, Worces­ter­shire sauce and a lit­tle salt and pep­per and blend un­til frothy. Grad­u­ally whisk in the oil in a steady stream un­til dress­ing has thick­ened. Stir in the Parme­san and ad­just sea­son­ing to taste. Serve driz­zled over a salad of ro­maine let­tuce, crou­tons, an­chovy and Parme­san, and crispy fried ba­con if you like.

Pho­tos: Ian Wal­lace/Ry­land Peters & Small

Herbed lab­neh dress­ing over salad of new potato, radic­chio or en­dive, smoked sal­mon and beet, from The Per­fectly Dressed Salad.

Clock­wise from lower left are Green God­dess, Ranch and Cae­sar — three creamy dress­ings from The Per­fectly Dressed Salad by Louise Pick­ford.

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