A tip on salad dressings
Try these 3 easy steps to make salad dressings
When dressing salads at home, of course we would advocate creating the vinaigrette from scratch as against using store bought versions to avoid unnecessary additives. First, we recommend starting with a good quality oil (e.g extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil) and for every 2 parts oil, add 1 part vinegar (e.g. champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar) or 1 part citrus juice (e.g. lemon juice). To enhance the dressing's favour, experiment with different ingredients to add to it such as freshly chopped coriander, seaweed powder (e.g. dulse), mustards (e.g. wholegrain mustard), tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce), honey etc. Start with a small amount (around one teaspoon) and check how the flavour develops before adding more. Make sure you taste the mixture again before seasoning (sea salt and pepper). Then whisk it all together to mix into a salad.
How much oil vs vinegar should I use?
The conventional oil-to-acid ratio for vinaigrettes that I have been taught at chef school is 3-to-1 - this means 3 parts oil for every 1 part vinegar. At Greenwich Plate, we tweak this ratio down to 2-to-1. Using (one third) less oil obviously reduces the calorie intake from fats (and from the dressed salad), which is not a bad thing, is it? The flavour of the vinegar will really stand out in using less oil and so we ensure the vinegar used for a recipe is of decent quality. Reducing the amount of oil used in vinaigrettes makes it harder to mask the quality of the vinegar because (more) oil can 'work' to neutralise that stinging, strong tart characteristic often found in cheap vinegars. Having said this, the 2-to-1 ratio is also a personal choice as to reduce the amount of fat consumed over many salads! So it really comes down to your own preference when making vinaigrettes at home - many people have no issues with the 3-to-1 ratio and prefer this taste-wise!
Sweet corn salad recipe suggestion: The sweetcorn at the shops is lovely at the moment, and which would go really well with a few more ingredients such as grape tomatoes, avocado slices, Lebanese cucumber and fresh basil. For a homemade vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard and 1 diced eschallot. Check taste and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the salad ingredients.