Sunday, September 13, 2009

Salad Dressing vs. Cruet

Let's get something straight, right from the start. By SALAD DRESSING I mean something you make yourself by combining oil, acid and desired flavors, not something you buy at the store.

I make salad dressing - a few different kinds: caesar, a spicy garlic one I serve on baby spinach, and my house standard. When I was a kid, we only used oil and vinegar, self-service. I always knew our cruet tradition was a result of the years my dad spent in Rome. But it wasn't a tradition I continued in my own kitchen. And while I enjoyed the break from dressing this summer (and noted the profusion of cruet caddies across Italy) I'm sticking to my dressing- making custom. But I have a new favorite, inspired by our balsamic-laced late evening Italian dinners. And this is it:

5 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar (I like Colavita for a supermarket standard)
2-3 super-thin slices red onion, chopped a bit
pinch kosher salt
pinch sugar
Few turns ground pepper

Mix together and toss with a few big handfuls of your favorite lettuces and wedges of a nice ripe tomato. Serve immediately.

I mentioned the Colavita, which I really do find to be a good, flavorful value vinegar. I dropped some dough on a fine balsamic this summer, but have yet to crack the seal. Any of you ever scope the balsamic under lock and key at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor? If you have a favorite balsamic I'd love to hear about it.

1 comment:

Katie Fairbank said...

A correction: My dad assures me our cruet-using had, in fact, nothing to do with him - our tradition came from my mother's family. To this day, my dad and step-mom favor the cruet for keeping salads lighter. I myself do find an over-dressed salad not only chock full of unnecessary fats and calories, just too much for many delicate lettuces to bear.