Deep Thoughts About Salads.

November 12, 2008

I have this theory about salads. Actually, it is my mom's theory, but I long ago adopted it as my own. It goes like this: A salad always tastes better when made by someone else. (A corollary theory is that sandwiches also taste better made by someone else, but that is another post.) No matter how hard I try, my salads are just ho-hum. There is one great exception to this rule, however. And it includes a salad made with the below-described salad dressing.

For a couple of years I was obsessed with making one type of salad. Sure, I made and ate lots of others (especially when made by someone else!), but this was my go-to salad. I never tired of it. Until, well, maybe day 753 hit and then I stopped making it. I finally hit the wall. However, just the other day I pulled out the recipe for the salad dressing (which is the critical component of the salad) and whipped up a batch. We've been eating salads with it ever since.

The salad I make with this includes the following: red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, arugula, thinly sliced carrots, green onions, avocado and homemade croutons. But it tastes good on just about everything.

Everyday Vinaigrette
from Gourmet Everyday Cookbook

1/2 c. red-wine vinegar
1/2 c. freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/3 c. water
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Puree vinegar, cheese, water, mustard, sugar, salt and garlic in a blender. Drizzle in olive oil while blender is running. Add parsley and puree until finely chopped.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (enough for a week's worth of salads!) and keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

p.s. I still love that other salad dressing, but it is not something I want every single day. This dressing, however, I do want everyday.


  1. Love it - actually, it's very close to my Caesar dressing but without the lemon or anchovy. I should make that for Sunday Supper soon, with steaks, how good would that be?

  2. Yes to your salad theory! I don't know what magic she puts in them, but my grandma always seems to have 'the touch' with salads. No matter how much I try to replicate hers, mine just don't compare.

    She does a lovely one with butter lettuce, avocado, slivered almonds and baby mandarin oranges. A touch of poppyseed dressing tops it all off...

  3. so glad that my thought process isn't totally bogus (hence why i forced my mom to keep making my sandwiches all through high school). i'm definitely trying out this salad dressing!

  4. I totally agree - I love eating salad but I hate making it. It always tastes better when someone else makes it for me. Excited to try this - love the addition of parmigiano reggiano, which of course makes everything taste like BUTTAH.

    Answered your seven questions, by the way...

  5. OK, I totally hear the salad theory. Just tonight I ate at one of our fav restaurants, which for awhile had the most delicious mixed salad... with basil, carrots, fennel, mixed greens etc... only now it's not as good as it use to be but I keep ordering it hoping for that simply magical salad of last year! Just last night I made a warm goats cheese salad at home with recipe from the barefoot countess paris. I agree that half or more of salad success is dressing... and this one turned out well but had raw egg yolk which made me nervous, on the other hand that might be what made it so good? Ok it's late and i'm typing too much xxoo

  6. I have always liked salads but my husband would like them with lunch and dinner. Since I have a salad guy we have become quite creative with them. My mom thinks the same thing, but I don't mind mine I think they're good.

  7. Oh my goodness - finally, a theory to explain my inability to make the exact same salad my family made almost every night with the simplest of ingredients, yet I cannot replicate the taste I remember no matter how many times I try. We called it Syrian Salad - lemon, olive oil, salt, mint and love over regular salad greens and whatever veggies were in the fridge. No matter whose house I go to, when they make Syrian salad it tastes exactly as I remember, but mine NEVER does!

  8. This dressing sound like my little italian grandma's who has long passed. I'm going to try this this weekend. Yum

  9. I completely agree with your salad theory. Thanks for the inspiration - I'm definitely trying this recipe on the weekend! :)The scones one is on my list for the weekend, too. :)

  10. i totally agree with both the salad AND sandwich theory, and look forward to the post addressing the latter. ;)

  11. I just made a batch of your salad dressing! First time I ever made salad dressing. So proud of myself and so not at all minding the salad I made for myself with this dressing poured all over it. Thank you! Yum!


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