A casual eatery can have food that is every bit as good as their fanciful counterparts so what do you use as a benchmark? Regardless of the formality of a restaurant I generally gauge the caliber of their fare by whether or not they make their own salad dressing(s) and serve quality bread. It is said, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression which is why salad dressing is so important. As the starter it sets the tone for the whole meal. Salad dressings are so easy to make and the difference between homemade and commercial preparations is akin to night and day. Shouldn't you have a house dressing too? Below are the everyday dressings that I mix up on-the-spot. I have linked most of the ingredients to the specific brand(s) that I use.
Rebecca's House Vinaigrette I
- 2 parts vinegar (taste it plain and choose your favorite-my standard is Alessi White Balsamic Vinegar)
- 2 parts juice (orange, lime, lemon, verjus)
- 1 part simple syrup (or a lesser amount of honey)
- 3 parts oil (taste it plain and choose your favorite-my standards are walnut or hazelnut)
- Salt & pepper (herb of choice-optional) to taste.
Rebecca's House Vinaigrette II
- Same as above but eliminate the sweetener (simple syrup/honey) and add a dollop of dijon-shake well.
Rebecca's House Vinaigrette III
- Same as above but with the addition of a spoon of homemade pesto. You may want to reduce the sweetness for this version as it should be more savory.
Rebecca's House Vinaigrette IV
Once you give homemade dressings a try you will be throwing all sorts of ingredients into a jar and giving them a good shake. Although these are my everyday dressings I also make others to suit the style of the meal. For example, I make a ginger-sesame dressing to go with Asian foods, a cilantro-lime dressing to accompany a southwest spread, and for using up post-holiday leftovers, a scrumptious cranberry-walnut version of my vinaigrette. Life is too short for mediocre food so get shaking!