Don’t remember the last time I bought a salad dressing. It’s all too easy to make your own from scratch and so much tastier. This creamy, versatile and delightful dressing is packed with vitamins and goes with almost any salad. It’s a healthy alternative to dairy or mayonnaise-based dressings.
What you need:
1 whole large ripe avocado.
1 clove garlic, peeled.
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice.
3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
¼ cup low-fat greek yogurt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
water, as needed
Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about 1/3 cup water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.
Here are two simple but super recipes to enjoy all year long but especially now. The spices keep and if you have extra dressing you can always label it and freeze it for later.
This blend of spices is considered to be the Swiss Army Knife of seasonings. Use it for all your summer grilling: steak, chicken, fish & veggies. I recently used it for ribs. It has a slightly exotic flavour.
In a medium bowl, stir together:
¼ cup brown sugar (be sure to break it up if hard)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. each – ground ginger, black pepper, smoked paprika,
Store in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag for up to 6 months. Makes about 1 cup.
How much to use? It depends on how much you like but here are some general guidelines:
For 1 ½ lbs. steak , use 2 Tbsp; 1 lb. vegetables, use 1 Tbsp; chicken pieces, use ¼ cup; 1 lb. salmon fillets, use 3 Tbsp.
Traditional *Caesar Salad is so last century! Here’s a nice take on a Charred CAESAR SALAD that my guests rave about:
Grill your Romaine! Use Romaine hearts, halved lengthwise, on medium for about 4 minutes or until charred in spots, turning over halfway through. Oil the grill first or drizzle olive oil on the lettuce beforehand. Serve immediately, drizzled with this dressing which also doubles as a dip by the way. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds for something different instead of croutons. Serves six.
THE DRESSNG: in a blender or food processor puree 4 oz. feta cheese, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 clove garlic and a little salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to medium bowl, stir in ¼ cup packed fresh dill, chopped.
*Actually I still love the traditional ways of making things but it doesn’t hurt to spice it up & do something unexpected.
1960’s. While no one lays claim to inventing this French salad “niçoise” just means “in the style of Nice,” the French beachside town. Credit goes to Julia Child for popularizing it in America in the 60’s.
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick Kosher salt
2 tablespoons dry white wine
10 ounces haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed
4 large eggs
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes or small cocktail tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
6 radishes, trimmed and quartered
2 5 1/2 -ounce cans Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1/2 cup nicoise olives
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle with the wine and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.
Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the haricots verts to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
Place the eggs in the reserved saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.
Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.
Toss the tomatoes in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.
Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, haricots verts, radishes, hard-cooked eggs and tuna on top. Pour any juices from the tomatoes into the dressing, then add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the *olives.
The Niçoise Olive is grown in Cote d’Azur – a region of the French Riviera.
*Did You Know…?
Because the true Niçoise isn’t a large crop (with harvests rarely exceeding 50 metric tons), most companies and olive importers grab Niçoise StyleOlives from Italy, Spain or Moracco. Most any olive you see in the market that is identified as a “Niçoise” isn’t from Cote d’Azur. Substitutes: Kalamata
So when was the last time you made or ordered a salad like this?
1934. This popular dinner salad originated as a midnight snack for Robert Cobb, owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. There’s a replica of the famous restaurant at Disney World.
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
4 large eggs Kosher salt
2 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Zest (in wide strips) and juice of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Directions: Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water. Chop the hard-cooked eggs and season with salt.
Combine the chicken, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and a large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1/2 inch. Bring to a bare simmer over medium heat (do not boil) and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a serving bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; season with pepper. Dice the chicken and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing in a separate bowl.
Halve, pit and dice the avocados. Season the tomatoes with salt. Add the Bibb and romaine lettuce to the serving bowl on top of the dressing. Arrange the bacon, hard-cooked eggs, chicken, avocados, tomatoes and blue cheese in rows on top of the lettuce. When ready to serve, toss the salad and season with salt and pepper.
Next week – I’ll post a recipe for Classic Niçoise Salad. I’m really into salads more and more these days and it’s nice to incorporate some oldies but goodies into the salad mix.
If there’s a specific recipe you’re looking for please let me know.