Monday, March 29, 2010

My Dinner with Sallie: Part 2

You’re looking at the last bottles of salad dressing I’ll ever keep in my refrigerator.

As I had hoped, during my dinner with Sallie I learned the principles of making homemade salad dressings. She didn’t teach me to simply follow a recipe, but rather to understand the basic formula so I can improvise depending on the flavors I want to create. Essentially, Sallie taught me to make dressing by “feel.”

The Basic Formula
1. Juice a lemon. Measure juice to establish “one part.”

2. Mix one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil; Sallie suggests splashing in a bit more oil because she likes her dressing more olive-y and less lemon-y. So she also notes “the better the olive oil, the better the flavor of the dressing.” (p.s.- the general rule for all dressings is one part acidic, such as citrus juice or vinegar, to two parts olive oil)

3. Measure a “pile” of salt (as taught to her by a man from Mexico whom she met in El Paso) in your cupped hand (approx. a ½ teaspoon, but it’s sooooo much cooler to cup your hand and make a little pile of salt). Toss your pile in with the juice-oil mixture.

NOTE: Sallie uses kosher salt. If you’re using a finer-grain salt, such as sea salt or table salt, use less.

4. Grind in fresh pepper to taste.

5. Whisk with a fork. Dressing will last about a week when kept in an air-tight container and refrigerated. According to Sallie, Smucker's peanut butter jars make the best salad dressing cruets.

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