Tag Archive for Dressing

Fast ceasar salad dressing

I love a good ceasar salad, but the normal dressing recipes all make loads and loads of dressing, forcing you to drown your salad in dressing (not very tasty), or to eat ceasar salad the whole week (a bit boring). But since the basis of the dressing is basically a mayonnaise (egg yolk + a bit of mustard + a bit of lemon juice + olive/vegetable oil) I figured that I could make a smaller amount of dressing by using ready made mayonnaise (which I always have in my fridge) as a basis, and add some chopped anchovies, a tiny bit of garlic, some extra salt, pepper, lemon juice and mustard (the shop-bought mustards usually are a bit bland), and a generous amount of finely grated parmesan. Toss the dressing with crisp romaine lettuce, and add extras Make some croutons by frying bits of bread in olive oil or bacon fat (if you’re adding bacon as well), fry some bacon and/or chicken breast, cook some eggs, make some parmesan shavings (using a vegetable peeler), add some extra anchovy fillets. The dressed romaine lettuce on its own is already delicious, so when you lack time you can eat it like that, but one or more of the extras make the salad extra tasty!

Feta dip

A smooth, creamy and bold-flavoured dip that is very easy to make and keeps for days. It is perfect to use as a dip, either to take with you for snacking, or on parties. Eat it with all kinds of vegetables or bread and personalize it by adding flavourings (like herbs and spices) you like.

This dip also works great as a salad dressing (I used it for greek-ish chopped vegetables). I find that the downside of putting cubes of feta in a salad is that in some bites you have too much feta and in other bites you don’t have enough… I never seem to get them distributed evenly throughout the salad. Using the feta as a dressing is a great solution for that.

I do have a bit of a quirk, I like to use the Danish white salad cheese instead of real feta, because real feta tastes like sheep, and I don’t like the flavour of sheep in cheese (on the other hand, I do like goat’s cheese). Just use the one you like. I used low fat cream cheese without a problem.

Feta dip
Adapted from the Kitchn

100 gram feta, room temperature
50 g cream cheese, room temperature
a splash of milk
salt and pepper
Optional flavourings: zest and juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp chopped chives or flat leave parsley
Optional garnishes: olive oil, sumac, cayenne

Blitz the feta in a small food processor until it is in small pieces. Add the cream cheese and blend for about 5 minutes, adding the milk to make it a smooth mixture. Alternatively, mash the feta with a fork in a bowl, then add the cream cheese and mix very well with the fork (this will give you a slightly coarser result).
Taste the mixture and add salt (probably not needed) and pepper to taste. Mix in the flavourings you are using, then scoop the mixture in a serving bowl (or put it in an airtight container and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.

Focaccia and anchoiade

A Mediterranean inspired meal: vegetables with anchoiade and focaccia. Anchoiade is a sauce/dressing/dip made from anchovies, garlic, olive oil and a splash of vinegar. It is perfect as a dip or dressing for all kinds of vegetables. It worked great with the broccoli, cauliflower and haricot verts I served it with, but would also be delicious with asparagus, radishes, cucumber, fennel and potatoes.You could also serve it as part of an antipasto platter with other dips, vegetables, bread, crackers, cheese, sliced meat and other snacks.
As with all simple dishes, it is very important to use the best ingredients you can get. The sauce will taste of the anchovies and the olive oil, so the ones you use should be tasty, or you have a sauce that is not very nice.
The focaccia is simple to make, delicious and perfect to mop up any leftover sauce. As a bonus: rising and baking bread make your house smell delicious. The bread is also great for making sandwiches.

From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

1 tin anchovy fillets in olive oil (50 gram)
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
150 ml olive oil (you can use less)
Optional: freshly ground black pepper

Place the anchovies with their oil and the garlic in a mortar and pound with the pestle. Add the vinegar and oil gradually until an emulsified sauce has formed. Alternatively, use a food processor to get a smoother finish. Serve immediately with your vegetables of choice and the focaccia.

Adapted from Marie Claire De Ultieme Keuken

225 g flour
225 g pasta flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 packet dried yeast (7 gram)
1 tsp sugar
250 ml lukewarm water
3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Mix flour, pasta flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the water and olive oil. Use a fork or a wooden spoon to mix everything until a rough dough is formed. Tip it out onto a work bench and knead for about 10-15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Form it into a ball, place in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for about 1 hour (or until the dough has doubled) on a warm spot.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Oil a baking tin. Knock back the risen dough and knead it a few times. Put it in the baking tin, press it until it covers the whole tin and use your fingers to make indentations in the dough. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for another 20 minutes on a warm spot.
After rising, place the tin in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden and cooked (sounds hollow when you tap the bottom). Leave to cool on a rack and serve warm or completely cooled. Serve the same day, it doesn’t keep well.

Lamb’s lettuce salad

A delicious salad with a sweet and fruity dressing. Also delicious with other lettuces than lamb’s lettuce. Perfect as a side salad with all kinds of meat: we had it with ribeye and potato chips.

Lamb’s lettuce salad (2 servings)

100 g lamb’s lettuce
1/2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
50 g parmesan cheese shavings
a handful of croutons

Mix raspberry vinegar and honey together, so that the honey dissolves in the vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to form a dressing. Mix with the lamb’s lettuce and divide over two small plates. Sprinkle with the parmesan and croutons. You can make the dressing in advance, it might separate a bit but you can bring it together by whisking it. Make sure you toss the lettuce with the dressing and add the parmesan and croutons just before serving, otherwise everything will get soggy.

Note: to make croutons, take a slice of bread (any kind, no problem if it is stale) and cut the crusts from it (keep to nibble on or dip in a soft boiled egg or to make breadcrumbs). Cut into cubes or tear into pieces. Heat some (olive) oil or butter on medium heat in a skillet, add the bread, toss frequently and fry until golden and crisp. Use immediately.

Kohlrabi remoulade

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that most people overlook because they don’t know what to do with it. I was one of these people till recently… I got curious and bought one to experiment with. And actually, it is a very nice vegetable. It is often served braised, but I prefer to use it raw, because it has an incredible fresh, juicy but still firm and crunchy texture and a slightly cabbagy taste that is great in salads. It also keeps quite well in the fridge, so you can use it part by part instead of having to finish the whole thing at once.
Traditionally a remoulade (French dish, not to be confused with remoulade sauce) is made with celeriac, but it also works with kohlrabi very well. The creamy, mustardy flavour of the dressing complements the taste of the kohlrabi perfectly. The apple and raisins give the salad a lovely sweet accent, but you can leave them out if you prefer. You can also use pineapple instead of apple.

Kohlrabi remoulade (2 generous servings)

1/2 large kohlrabi
1 apple
4 tbsp raisins, soaked
3 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp coarse mustard
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped chives
Optional: some toasted walnuts

Cut the top and the bottom from the kohlrabi with a large knife. Peel the outside quite thickly, because the flesh directly under the peel can be quite woody. Quarter the kohlrabi to obtain manageable chunks. Slice these thinly, and slice the slices thinly as well, to obtain julienne. Or use a mandolin with a small julienne slicer.
Make the sauce by mixing mayonnaise, both mustards, chives and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the kohlrabi through the sauce (using a fork is easiest). Add the apple, raisins and walnuts if using and mix again. Serve immediately. You can make the salad a bit in advance, but the liquid from the kohlrabi will thin the dressing a lot.

Salad of juliened vegetables with Asian dressing

A delicious fresh salad with a spicy, tangy Asian dressing. I served it with fried duck breast drizzled with honey, which worked perfectly; the spice complements the sweetness from the meat and the honey, while the tanginess cuts through the richness and fat of the duck. You could add some fish sauce to the dressing to make it really Asian, but I find the flavour a bit too pungent for my taste. Another great addition to the salad would be some herbs, like coriander, thai basil or mint. Because the vegetables are already crunchy, I didn’t add peanuts, cashews or roasted rice for extra crunch.

I use sambal in the dressing because it is always the same and I know how spicy it is. I can’t handle heat from chillies very well, so most of them are just way too spicy, and also quite unpredictable. It happened lots of times that a chilli was spicier than expected, ruining a dish for my taste. The sambal that I use is quite mild, so it will give lots of chilli flavour, but only a mellow heat. If you do like it spicy, go ahead and use (lots of) chilli!

Salad of juliened vegetables with Asian dressing

vegetables cut into julienne (for example carrot, cucumber, beet, kohlrabi)
1 tsp honey or palm sugar
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sambal (or some chopped chilli)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp neutral oil
salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together and toss it with the vegetables. Serve immediately.

Spinach salad with blue cheese dressing

Spinach and blue cheese are a great combination, but I never thought of combining them in a salad until I stumbled upon this recipe. The actual recipe is quite a bad one: it has a weird combination of vegetables (besides the spinach), the dressing recipe makes so much that you have to eat this salad each day for a week to finish it before it spoils and doesn’t even taste like blue cheese, and it asks you to toss away the yolks of the cooked eggs. Sure, that makes the calorie count lower, but I’d rather reduce calories in another way than trow away perfectly fine food (I think cooked eggs and blue cheese are a bad combination anyway).

So I made my own, tasty version. The sharp and tangy dressing contrasts beautifully with the ironny spinach, and the walnuts add a nice bite to the salad. I served it with a rice salad to make a tasty summer meal, I will share the recipe in the next blog post.

Spinach salad with blue cheese dressing

Spinach salad with blue cheese dressing (2 servings)

150 gram spinach (baby spinach if you can find it, the smaller leaves make the salad easier to eat; either buy prewashed or wash the spinach yourself)
2 tbsp toasted walnuts, chopped (toast them for a few minutes in a dry skillet on medium heat, until fragrant and lightly browned)
50 gram blue cheese (for example roquefort, danish bleu, blue stilton, etc)
1 tbsp yoghurt or mayonnaise (yoghurt makes it lighter and tangier, mayonnaise makes it creamier)
optional: a splash of milk
pepper to taste

Mash the blue cheese in a small bowl with a fork. Add the yoghurt or mayonnaise and stir until creamy and mix well (having a few chunky bits of cheese in there is fine). Season with pepper. If the dressing is too thick for your preference, add a little milk to thin it out. Toss the spinach with the dressing, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve immediately.

Three fresh summer salads

Spring over here wasn’t much. It was cold, very cold. Luckily, the weather has changed, so it is all summery now. And what is tastier in summer than a nice side salad? Here are three new ideas to give a try!

Carrot salad (2 servings)
150 gram carrot julienne
3 spring onions, sliced finely
1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Add carrots, chives and spring onion; mix well. Serve immediately or store up to two days (covered and refrigerated)

Note: also very tasty with radishes; if you like French carotte rĂ¢pe you can add a little dijon mustard to approximate that more.

Cucumber Salad 2 servings
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar vinegar
1 tsp honey
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. Add cucumbers and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve. It is best to make this salad about 15 minutes in advance, so that the cucumber has time to get soft and slightly pickely.

Mixed salad (4 servings)
From Eating Well

4 cups torn green leaf lettuce
1 cup sprouts (for example alfafa)
1 cup tomato wedges
1 cup sliced cucumber
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup Sesame Tamari Vinaigrette

Sesame Tamari Vinaigrette (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (reduced-sodium, if you prefer)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated

Whisk orange juice, vinegar, tamari, oil, honey and ginger in a small bowl until the honey is incorporated.
Toss lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, carrots and radishes in a large bowl with the dressing until the vegetables are coated

Note: I haven’t used the sesame dressing myself, because I did not have any orange juice on hand. Instead, I made a punchy garlic-mustard dressing. For a lightly coated side salad for two persons you need 1 finely crushed clove of garlic, mix it with 1/4 tsp dijon mustard, then add 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and mix well. Then add 2 tbsp olive oil in a slow stream while whisking. Add a tbsp chopped chives or parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Some people prefer a higher oil to acid ratio, for example 5:1 instead of 2:1, so try the dressing and add more oil if you think it is necessary.

Honey and mustard dressing

Pre-made honey and mustard dressings are usually disgusting. I never understood why something made of two things I like a lot can be so repulsive, but now I tried to make it myself, I understand. It is all about the balance. Pre-made honey and mustard dressings are overwhelmingly sweet of bland honey and sickly acidic of the mustard. It is like only the worst aspects of both can be tasted. My home-made honey and mustard dressing is balanced and therefore doesn’t taste at all like honey or mustard. Also I use a good, strong honey and a nice mustard. These are balanced out by apple cider vinegar, which is very refreshing and acidic. Everything is smoothed out with some neutral olive oil and a pinch of salt lifts the taste of the whole dressing.
The recipe I give below is an indication. Honey and mustard are products that vary greatly in taste, so the amounts you need to balance the dressing will vary. Personally I like my dressing quite acidic, so I use quite some vinegar and not so much olive oil, but some people like it a bit sweeter. The best tip I can give is tasting: mix something up, dip your finger in it, taste it and make adjustments. Repeat until you have a dressing that you like. Even though I know the amounts I need from my honey and mustard, I still taste, because taste can vary greatly from day to day.
I like this as a dressing for a simple salad with mixed lettuce and some cucumber, but goats cheese, garlic croutons (rub white bread with garlic clove, then roast) and toasted walnuts would also be a great addition.

Honey and mustard dressing
1 tsp honey
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp neutral olive oil

Mix everything. Taste. Add more of ingredients to balance flavour.