Salad dressings are liquids or semi-liquids used to flavor salads. They are sometimes considered cold sauces and they serve the same functions as sauces; that is they add flavor, moistness and enrich the body. They help also in digestion.
Most of the basic salad dressing used today can be divided into three categories:
a. Oil and vinegar dressings
b. Mayonnaise- based dressings
c. Cooked dressings
There are also a number of dressings in which the main ingredients include products such as sour cream, yoghurt and fruit juices. Many are designed specifically for fruit salads or for low-calorie diets.
Note that dressing is a seasoning for the main ingredients. It should not accent their flavor, overpower or drown them.
Corn oil is widely used in dressings. It has a light golden color and is nearly tasteless, except from a very mild cornmeal flavor. Cottonseed, Soya bean and sun flower seed oils are also bland, nearly tasteless oils and therefore suitable for blending salad dressings. They also have the advantage of being low cost.
Peanut oil has a mild but distinctive flavor and may be used in appropriate dressings. It is somewhat more expensive. Olive oil has a very distinctive, fruity flavor and aroma and a greenish color. The best olive oils are called virgin, which means they are made from the first pressing of the olives. Because of its flavor, olive oil is not all- purpose oil but may be used in specialty salads.
Walnut oil has a distinctive flavor and a high price. It is occasionally used in elegant restaurants featuring specialty salads. Other nut oils, such as hazelnut oil are sometimes used.
Winterized oil should be used with dressings that are to be refrigerated. These are oils that have been treated (saturated fatty acids removed) so that they will remain a clear liquid when chilled.
Cider vinegar is made from apples. It is brown in color and has a slightly sweet, apple taste. White or distilled vinegar is distilled and purified so that it has a neutral flavor.
Wine vinegar may be white or red, and has, naturally, a wine flavor. Flavored vinegars are those that have other products added to them, for example tarragon.
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine and consequently, has the distinctive flavor of the wine. Balsamic vinegar is special wine vinegar that has been aged in wooden barrels. It is dark brown in color and has a noticeably sweet taste.
Other specialty vinegars include malt vinegar, rice vinegar, and vinegars flavored with fruits such as raspberry.
Vinegars should have a good, clean sharp flavor for their type. Strength of acidity determines the tartness of the vinegar- and of the dressing made from it. Most salad vinegars range from 3 to 5% acidity. Vinegar that is too strong should be diluted with a little water before it is measured for a recipe.
White vinegar is used when a completely neutral flavor is desired for a dressing other vinegars are used for their characteristic flavors. Wine vinegars are usually preferred for the best quality oil- and – vinegar dressings. Lemon juice may also be used in place or in addition to vinegar in some preparation.
SOME SPECIAL DRESSINGS:
• Minced garlic
• Red wine vinegar (vinaigrette with olive oil)
• chopped chives
• Grated cheese
• Mustard powder
• Crushed pepper corn, salt
• Chili sauce
• Chopped pimento green and red
• Salt, Pepper
• Caviar (opt.)
Thousand Island dressing
• Chili sauce/Tabasco
• Chopped hard boiled egg
• Chopped gherkin
• Chopped onion
• Chopped glace cherry
• Chopped parsley
• chopped pimento green and red
• Chopped caper
• Paprika, salt and pepper
• Paprika, salt, sugar
• Worcestershire sauce
• French mustard
• Tomato ketchup, juice of lemon
• White wine
• Salt and pepper
American style French dressing:
• Mustard dry
• Egg yolk
• Garlic powder
• Minced onion
• White pepper
• Salad oil
House Wife dressing:
• Chopped gherkin
• Chopped apple
• Chopped onion
Salt and pepper