The key to any great salad is using good-quality, fresh ingredients but it is the dressing that can make or break the final result. Perfectly Dressed Salads features delicious recipes for a wide variety of exciting dressings that take their inspiration from different world cuisines. Here are just some of our favourite salads and dressings to try this summer.
A classic dressing for wedges of chilled cos or iceberg lettuce – you can experiment with different types of blue cheese to give you the flavour that works best for you. This recipe uses a creamy St Agur, which has a milder taste than Gorgonzola or Roquefort, but really it’s up to you.
75 g/1/3 cup sour(ed) cream
50 g/1/4 cup creamy blue cheese
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons just-boiled water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
MAKES 200 ML/3⁄4 CUP
Place the sour(ed) cream, blue cheese, vinegar, water and a little salt and pepper in a blender and whizz until fairly smooth. Add the oil and blend again. Stir in the chives, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.
This creamy dressing with its lovely tang of acidity from the blue cheese is wonderful with cos or iceberg lettuce. It also works well with all green leaf salads, celery, apple, pear and mixed nuts.
Red chicory, Roquefort and hazelnut salad
This simple salad provides a delicious contrast of textures between the crunchy nuts, crisp leaves and creamy blue cheese. A simple dressing made with hazelnut oil and raspberry vinegar finishes it to perfection. Enjoy as a light meal or appetizer.
50 g/1/3 cup roasted, skinned hazelnuts*
2 heads of red or green chicory/Belgian endive
2 Comice or Conference pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 segments
100 g/3/4 cup Roquefort, roughly crumbled
2 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon caster/granulated sugar
4 tablespoons hazelnut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the vinaigrette. Whisk the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together and then whisk in the oil until amalgamated. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C/350˚F/ Gas 4. Freshen up the hazelnuts by roasting them in the oven or toasting them in a dry frying pan/skillet. Set aside to cool, then chop roughly.
Separate out the chicory/Belgian endive leaves and place in a bowl of iced water for 15–20 minutes. Drain and pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Arrange the salad on plates starting with a pile of leaves, then the pear segments and Roquefort. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad, top with the chopped hazelnuts and serve at once.
*If you can’t find skinned hazelnuts, roast them with their skins on until dark brown then rub off the skins with a kitchen towel.
Add more or less garlic depending on what you prefer – either way it will be delicious!
3 egg yolks
2–4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
125 ml/½ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
125 ml/½ cup olive oil
Sea salt and ground white pepper
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
A pinch of saffron strands
1 tablespoon boiling water
2–3 teaspoons harissa paste
MAKES 300 ML/11⁄4 CUPS
Place the egg yolks, garlic, vinegar, mustard and a little salt and pepper in a bowl and use electric beaters to whisk/beat until frothy.
In a separate bowl, combine the oils together and gradually add to the yolks a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until the sauce is thickened and glossy and all of the oil is incorporated. It should be able to hold its shape. If the mixture is too thick, thin it with a teaspoon or so of boiling water, until you reach the required consistency.
Lemon Alioli Follow the basic recipe above, adding the lemon zest to the egg yolks and replacing the vinegar with the lemon juice.
Saffron Alioli Soak the saffron strands in the boiling water for 5 minutes. In the meantime, follow the basic recipe, then add the saffron strands and the infused water to the alioli and whisk/beat again, until evenly mixed.
Harissa Alioli Follow the basic recipe, then stir in the harissa paste, to taste.