Even if you are a diehard meat lover, a bowl of fresh seasonal greens, with their vibrant colours and myriad textures, can be a real treat. The trick, however, is to create a unique flavour profile that makes it hard for you to resist digging into it.
Often, as we are about to toss up a bowl of salad, we get stuck at finding a good dressing to team the veggies with. As a result, we either change our mind about having a salad or turn to the most convenient choices – mayonnaise or lemon juice (or the bottled variety). Yes, these are tried and tested, but there are plenty of other ways to spruce up those greens.
A good dressing is one which works effortlessly to enhance the flavours of the various ingredients in the salad. There are no set rules here and you can go all out to mix and match different flavours as per your preference. But the only point you need to remember is to add the dressing to the veggies just before serving. Doing so will help you retain the crunch of the vegetables without making them go all soggy.
Here are some 5 interesting ways with salad dressings
Flavoured and Infused Oils
This is the quickest and the most convenient way to boost up the flavours in your salad. All you need to do is slightly warm the oil in a pan, add in herbs and spices and stir for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, let the oil cool completely and transfer the oil to a tall glass jar and let it stand for the flavours to infuse. You can also use garlic or shallots, by slightly roasting them and then mixing the pulp into the oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the popular choice, but you can also experiment with pumpkin seed oil, raisin oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, rapeseed oil, etc.
The Punch of Vinaigrettes
This requires a little whisking effort, but the result is delicious. A vinaigrette is an emulsion of salad oil and vinegar, along with herbs, spices and seasonings as per your choice. There are different kinds of oils and vinegars you can experiment with to make your own vinaigrette. In vinegars, you can choose from balsamic, apple cider, red wine, white wine, rice, raspberry and sherry; and amongst oils, you can opt for peanut oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc.According to the traditionalrecipe, the ratio of oil and vinegar is three is to one. You really need to whisk both the ingredients well, and serve it immediately because, due to its unstable nature, keeping it for a longer period of time could separate the oil and vinegar into separate layers.
Also read | Orange, the new Winter favourite
Some Like it Cheesy
A little bit of cheese and it makes everything taste good, wouldn't you agree? While blue cheese dressing has been the most popular one in thiscategory, you can also cut down on the richness (and overpowering flavour) and opt for milder cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar, feta and the like. Some recipes also call for a cheese vinaigrette, and you can add in some oregano and basil for Italian flavours. Try to make a cream cheese dressing for a salad of broccoli, babycorn and mushrooms, and it tastes delicious.
Here's the recipe: take 50 gm cream cheese, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, and Half tsp sugar or honey, and whisk all the ingredients well using a hand blender. Add seasonings as per your choice and use it to toss up your greens.
Try it with some Yoghurt
Yoghurt is not just a healthier option but a great way to add creaminess to your bowl of salad. Take a few minutes to make hung curd before you start to whip up the dressing. Just place the yoghurt in a muslin cloth, tie it up, and let it hang for 30 minutes so that the water separates out.You can make a refreshing tzatziki, a Greek dressing made using hung yoghurt, garlic, finely chopped cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, and dill. You could also make other interesting flavour combinations using yoghurt such as lemon and parsley, ginger and honey, or even add in tahini for a nutty flavour. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and popularly used in Middle East and Mediterranean cuisine.
The Zing of Mustard
Seasonal veggies are naturally sweet and nutty in flavour, so while making dressings, adding a little zing could transform your salad into a scrumptious treat. While honey-mustard is one of the most common dressings, you could also experiment with kasundi (the local favourite in Bengal) or opt for Dijon, English mustard, etc. If you are feeling a little adventurous, you could also replace the mustard with wasabi! The pungent mustard pairs well with bitter veggies as well as green leafy veggies. You can, of course, tone down the nasal-clearing flavour by whisking it with oil, citrus, and some herbs and spices.
Try something new at home, Let us know in the comment section below