Posts Tagged ‘salad


Honey-Mustard Dressing

  Honey-Mustard dressing is a healthier and delicious alternative to dressings made with mayonnaise.  The sweet/hot/sour combination really compliments each ingredient to the fullest.  Not only is this dressing good on, for instance, a spinach and bacon salad, it also makes a fantastic dip or sauce for fish, chicken and pork.  This basic recipe is only a starting point.  You can easily customize the flavors here by adding your own dried herbs and spices to suit your tastes.

Honey-mustard also makes a tasty sandwich spread.

Whisk together thoroughly in a bowl:

• ¾ cup good quality honey (the darker, the better)

• ½ cup Dijon mustard

• 4 tbsp. white wine vinegar

• Ground red pepper to taste

Makes around 1½ cups

For a thinner dressing, whisk in extra-virgin olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.


Caesar Salad

  Though it is disputed, the Caesar salad was invented by Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico around 1924.  According to legend, Cardini was short on supplies so he quickly concocted a salad that could be prepared tableside with what he had on hand.  His original recipe used whole romaine leaves and was intended to be eaten with the fingers.  Soon the salad became the most requested item on the menu.  Anchovies are considered optional, but something is really missing from the final flavor when they are left out.

Topping the Caesar with grilled chicken or shrimp transforms it from a side salad into a main course.

Boil gently (coddle) for 1-2 minutes:

2 large eggs

Add coddled eggs to an ice water bath to halt cooking

Make a paste from smashing and finely chopping together:

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

Whisk in:

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 large coddled eggs

Stream in, while whisking

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a salad bowl, toss the dressing with:

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

2 or more cups homemade croutons

Top salad with:

½ cup quality Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

Serve immediately on chilled plates



Ranch Dressing

  Ranch dressing was made popular by the Hidden Valley dude ranch in Santa Barbara sometime in the 1950s.  Long before the Clorox company bought the formula and revised it several times to make it more shelf-stable, this dressing capitalized on fresh ingredients and the tang of buttermilk.  This recipe is adapted from the original formula that made ranch one of the most popular salad dressings today.  Though maybe not the flavor most are accustomed to pouring from a plastic bottle or mixing from a paper packet, the fresh and vibrant taste of this dressing is a perfect accompaniment to veggies and meats alike.

Clorox purchased the Hidden Valley Ranch brand in 1972 for $8 million.

Make a paste from smashing and finely chopping together:

• 1 garlic clove

• 2 pinches of kosher salt

Whisk paste together with:

• ½ cup buttermilk

• 1 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, minced

• 1 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp. fresh chives, snipped

• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

• 1 scallion, trimmed and finely sliced

• ½ cup mayonnaise (add 1 tsp. of white wine vinegar if using store-bought mayo.)

• ½ cup sour cream

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For a thicker dressing, add mayo or sour cream.

For a thinner dressing, add buttermilk

Use before the expiration dates of the buttermilk and sour cream.


Tuna Salad

  Tuna salad is a fast and relatively healthy lunch that can be put together mostly from things you have on hand anyway.  Aside from serving on bread it can be served on romaine lettuce leaves or stuffed into a fresh tomato.  Using leftover grilled tuna or the kind that comes in pouches is preferred because it has a better texture and a less “fishy” flavor than the canned varieties.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

A tuna salad sandwich on pumpernickel rye.

• 6 0z. tuna in water, drained and flaked (or leftover grilled tuna)

• ½ cup kosher dill pickles, diced

• ¼ cup mayonnaise

• 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 splash white wine vinegar

• ½ tsp. garlic powder

• 1 tbsp. white onion, diced (optional)

• 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (optional)

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate until cold.  Leftover tuna salad tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had time to mingle.


Basic Vinaigrette

  This recipe is very versatile and helpful to have.  Not just limited to salads, this vinaigrette is great on grilled chicken or fish (especially if using the lemon juice) and also makes  a delicious dip for crusty breads.  Tossing some steamed vegetables with it like green beans or broccoli creates a delicious side.  Besides being an excellent standalone dressing, it is also the base for many vinaigrette variations.  Any of your favorite dried herbs or even a tablespoon of drained horseradish can be added to this recipe for an extra kick.  Since this vinaigrette is made with olive oil, it might solidify in the refrigerator.  If this happens, all you have to do is let the bottle sit in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes and shake well.

Vinaigrette should always be mixed or shaken immediately before use.

Vinaigrette should always be mixed or shaken immediately before use.

2 oz. red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

¼ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil


• Whisk red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl.

• Whisk briskly and stream in the olive oil until thoroughly combined.

• Let the dressing sit at room temperature for an hour before removing the garlic and serving.



  This is what I always do with stale bread or heels.  Homemade croutons are cheap, easy to make and incredibly delicious.  They even make an excellent snack on their own.  Once you have the method down, the flavors and spices can be adjusted to your liking.  Put these in a salad and it will be lifted to a whole new level.

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

• 1 loaf worth of stale bread or heels

• 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

• 4 tbsp. olive oil

• Salt, to taste


Cut the bread into ¾” pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. 

Bake in a 175° oven until dry and as crisp as you prefer, but not browned.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic cloves.

After the garlic is fragrant and browned, remove it from the pan and add the bread.

Toss the croutons in the oil until golden brown, remove from heat and season liberally with salt.


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