Introducing the Best Salad Dressing Ever
Hyperbole? Hype? Just wait until you try this dressing with a mesclun salad.
Photos by Leah Lizarondo
Oh, mesclun. I rue the 1990s because of you. You suddenly appeared on every restaurant menu and became the default white-space filler on every plate, often accompanied by your longtime partner, balsamic vinaigrette.
Please don’t get me wrong. I like the two of you. But through the years you seem to have lost your soul. Yes, young lettuce leaves are lovely, especially after a long, barren winter. But you’ve slowly lost what makes you complete. Endive, arugula, mustard greens, frisee, radicchio – the bitters. And maybe even sorrel and mizuna if one is lucky. Without these accompanying flavors, I have to work really hard to enjoy mesclun’s subtlety.
Subtlety is elegant and delicious in occasional doses, but dangerous when overindulged.
So what do I do with you, mesclun? I adorn you, baby. With nuts, seeds, fruit, legumes, (your older cousin) romaine, some cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, fresh parsley and scallions …. and I top it all off with the ultimate dressing.
This is mesclun’s salvation.
It’s also a really great way to use those herbs that have been sitting in your cupboard. Remember the marjoram you bought a while back for that one recipe? And tarragon, wow. Who can ever finish a bottle of tarragon? I use it as stingily as I use saffron, not because of scarcity but because it’s so potent. There is a very fine line (or sprinkle) between “French” and “tastes like earth.”
This is your new house dressing. Have it on hand all season long and those lonely bottles will finally see some rotation in your spice rack.
I assure you that it's well worth the hype.
Tina’s Dressing a.k.a. The Best Salad Dressing Ever
(Named after Tina Shannon, one of the best cooks I know.)
Yield: Makes 3 cups
- 2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 oz. garlic (about 1 head), chopped
- 2 tsp. tarragon
- ½ tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. marjoram
- 1/8 tsp. rubbed sage
- ½ tsp. rosemary
- 1 ½ T. basil
- 2 ½ T. oregano
- 1-2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 c. lemon juice
- 2 T maple syrup (optional)
1. Place in blender and blend together or place in a wide-neck bottle and emulsify with your immersion blender.