You can customize a salad endlessly, add your family's favourite ingredient or splurge on quality toppings for your guests and it will be a good salad - very good. But if the dressing isn't great, your salad won't be the best it can be. Luckily, it's simple to master the art of a good dressing and make your salads even more delicious. Here are some tips for making salad dressing right:
Emulsify well: Many dressings start with oil and vinegar, two ingredients that don't mix readily, or stay together for very long. Leave vinaigrette aside for a while and it will separate into two distinct layers. This happens because the vinegar droplets that are distributed in the oil when you mix it find each other again, rejoining and separating from the oil.
Mix in a mason jar: One way to delay your oil and vinegar from separating is to make your dressing in a mason jar so you can screw on the lid and shake really hard. The smaller you can get the droplets of vinegar, the more of them they'll be and the longer it will take for them to all join back together.
Add a stabilizer: In some vinaigrette recipes, a teaspoon or so of mustard or honey is often called for. Not only do these ingredients add great flavour, they're also handy stabilizers too. They help to block the vinegar droplets from re-joining and hold them suspended in the oil longer.
Avoid a soggy salad: It's best to dress your salads as close to serving as possible, with the exception of salads made with tougher vegetables like kale which benefit from extra soaking time. If you dress delicate greens too early, they wilt and become soggy.
Taste your dressing: It's important you always check the seasonings of your dishes and in the case of dressings, this is better done with a bit of salad. It may taste strong or salty on its own, but perfect on a leaf of spinach.
Now that you're a salad dressing master, you're well on your way to the best salads ever. Any of these tested-till-perfect recipes will get you there.