Friday, June 17, 2011

That Famous Salad Dressing [Rhonda]

Degree of difficulty: super-easy
Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10 salads

There are a handful of recipes you clip and save, come across at a friend’s home, or hammer out through years of evolution and experimentation that are prized above all others. They get raves every single time. This is one of those.

It will change your life. Seriously.

And for those of you still buying bottled salad dressing, once you whisk together a dressing like this, you won’t ever consume supermarket dreck again.

Picture one of the most beautiful Ralph Lauren runway models of the eighties—Bonnie Pfeifer—long, chestnut hair flecked with blonde, mile-long legs, perfect smile, in the kitchen with her then-boyfriend, cleaning out the remnants of the Dijon mustard jar with a swish of vinegar. They chopped garlic with no thought or measure, sloshed these simple elements into a dressing that rivaled the one at New York’s chicest French bistro—La Goulue—at 65th St. and Madison.

In the beginning, I measured and fretted over every detail. I had to have tamari or I couldn’t attempt it. Exactly how much mustard is in a nearly-empty mustard jar? One tablespoon? Three?

Over the years, things have shifted a bit. I use less oil now, different vinegars or stout grainy mustard when inspiration strikes, usually no cream, and give it a quick whirl in the blender to emulsify.

Make a lot at once and keep it on hand—it’s nice over roasted vegetables, and certainly elevates the simple salad to something special. Forever thank you, Bonnie!

½ c. apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
2-3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 ¼ c. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, tamari, and pepper in bowl. Add olive oil slowly, whisking. If you want a creamy dressing, add a small amount of heavy cream. Mix well before using.

Suggested soundtrack: channel 1980 with Smokey Robinson’s Cruisin’, one of the biggest Top 40 hits of that year

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