Salad Eaters Get Weary—Yes, We Do Get Weary
Eating the same old shabby dressings
THE SUMMER PRODUCE IS COMING IN HOT AND HEAVY NOW—it’s almost overwhelming—so this week I’ve got a quick recipe meant to both keep you in dressing and help you avoid getting weary of dressing. It’s a delicate balance.
Back when I hired the boys in the lab, a big part of their rigorous job training—in addition to strict guidance on unloading my dishwasher and washing and spinning all the lettuce—was learning to make absurd claims about anything and everything related to salad. A little controversy, just to keep it fresh. Which is why they love to claim that there are no bad salads just bad salad dressings. (They even had T-shirts made.)
Obviously nothing could be further from the truth—and not just because the boys are imaginary. Both salad and dressing can be (and often are) awful; both can be great. A good salad is nothing with a terrible dressing. And you can indeed use the wrong dressing on the right salad. And vice versa.
But two things we have learned in the salad lab are: (1) humans will tend to learn a salad dressing and then make it over and over and over and over again until they are so tired of it they don’t even want salad anymore; (2) a really good, everyday dressing can be absolutely transformative.
And by that I don’t mean a dressing that is so delicious you will eat it on a pile of the rattiest past-their-prime vegetables you have in your fridge—like blue-cheese dressing or any one of these or these.
I’m talking about a dressing that can transform your general salad game—turn you into a real salad eater, once and for all.
I have that dressing for you today. It’s a tiny bit of a chore as dressings go—lemons to squeeze, garlic to peel—but more than worth it, trust me.
I was made hip to it by reader Lesley Simpson (thank you, dear Lesley!), in an open thread back in April, in which I asked paid readers to tell me about their salad dreams and aspirations. I’m offering it now to the whole gang, as a dressing you will use in many other ways until you’ve eaten the last cucumber in the crisper this summer.
Even though I thought about sharing it the minute I saw it, I personally needed this dressing for myself. Me, me, me. As a salad newslettrist, you’d think I’d have the perfect salad life. But in reality, I usually spend about 4 months talking about how summer is coming, imagining all the salads, and then when summer actually gets here I’m not prepared for all the booty the season hurls at us all at once.
But no more. No.
It’s called My Favorite Restaurant-Style Vinaigrette, from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, by Marcy Goldman. I would have loved her for having a salad dressing in a book about baking alone, but the entire cookbook is truly a treasure. She rightfully says: “This all-purpose salad dressing suits almost anything that comes in its way.”
I’m new to it, so I can’t stop imagining the ways I’ll use it, including eating it with cold chicken or crudités.
Don’t let the amount of garlic scare you off—it’s a lot but the recipe makes quite a large batch.
Also! It will keep in the fridge for up to two months. So you can mix up your routine by making a small jar of something else (like my Barn Ranch or Green Goddess or one of Yakuri Sakamoto’s Favorite Japanese Salad Dressings), then coming back to this dressing, which will always be there for you. It’s like a salad safety blanket.
Plus, you can adapt it to your mood by taking some out of the big jar, putting it in a smaller jar, and adding herbs or a spoonful or two of mayonnaise. It emulsifies really nicely, and stays thick, but you can thin it if you wish with a tiny bit of water or some juice—or whatever you like. It makes so much that you can give it out in little jars to friends, as I did, and still have enough for your own salad needs.
*RECIPE: Marcy Goldman’s Favorite Restaurant-Style Vinaigrette (and Emily’s, Too)
Makes about 1 quart
20 cloves of garlic, peeled and trimmed
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used 2; perfect)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or you may use all lemon juice and no vinegar, for a total of 1 cup)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (don’t leave this out; it needs it)
2 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
Place the garlic cloves in a food processor (or blender) and process until minced. Add all the remaining ingredients except the oils and process well. Drizzle in the oils in a very thin stream until they are incorporated and the mixture thickens. Take your time. Goldman mentions that she varies this formula by adding half a small onion and a chunk of celery as the vinaigrette is blended. And as I already mentioned, you can add fresh herbs—basil, parsley, dill.
🥬 🥬🥬 🥬That’s It! We’re done here! Just FYI: I was working on a lovely corn-and-tomato salad when I felt the urgent need to instead get this salad dressing out to you all, so I’ll be sending that salad out later this week to paid subscribers.
🥬🥬🥬 OH, BUT ONE MORE THING We’ve gotten a start on PRINTABLE RECIPES! You’ll start finding downloadable PDF files (SEE THEM? ABOVE?) at the end of each recipe, working backward, until we have them all done. CONFUSED? Check the archive if you lose track of your e-mailed newsletter.
🥬 🥬ALSO, I’M WONDERING: Do you follow me on Instagram? My feed is not a consistent array of uniformly styled photos of perfect food, which I know is what I’m supposed to offer. But I get too bored. So it includes videos of giant pandas loudly eating carrots and personal crap representative of my bad personality. I’d love to have you. Go here: Emily’s Instagram
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