Vinaigrettes or Salad Dressings Old & New

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An oak leaf lettuce


I love a good vinaigrette or salad dressing, one that barely coats the salad leaves and that has enough acidity to cleanse the palate. But I cannot abide salads where the leaves have been drowned in a sappy mayonnaise soup, something that is all too common in the UK and USA.

A salad needs good leaves. If it is a single variety make it count, e.g. a frisée, butter or oak leaf. Otherwise use a mixture of leaves and add leafy herbs in small quantities.

The classic formula is one part acid to three parts oil, but there is considerable variation depending on the acids and oils you use. So my tip is taste, taste and taste again.

As I write this I realise that I use a lot of different dressings, so I am giving you my two favourites, plus a celebratory dressing that is perfect with an avocado and watercress salad and an oil-free dressing that I reconstructed from the restaurant 't Hofke in Antwerp.

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