I challenge you to race me to the grocery store and back with a bottle of store-bought dressing before I’m done making mine. Betcha I’d win.
With the exception of Ranch or Caesar dressing, I don’t buy store-bought dressings. They’re way too easy and cheap to make myself. Not only are they cheap and easy, but you can customize the taste to your own preference, and you know exactly what’s going in them.
For example, I just went to the Kraft website to take a look at the ingredients in some of their dressings. Just glancing through a few of them, I found tartaric acid, xantham gum, yellow 5, yellow 6, potassium sorbatecorn syrup, modified food starch, calcium disodium edtaphosphoric acid, guar gum, red 40, blue 1, propylene glycol alginate, natamycin, high fructose corn syrup, calcium disdonium EDTA, artificial color, phosphoric acid, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, sulfiting agents… ok, am I making my point yet?
Now that I’m starting to grow my own herbs, it’s even easier to whip up a bowl of fresh, delicious dressing. She’s only a month old but I’m learning how to be a good mother…
This particular dressing had the following herbs: Basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, and thyme. How much you use of each is up to you–there really isn’t a wrong amount. If you like one herb more than another, well, use more of that. I like basil a LOT, so I used a bit more basil than the rest.
If you don’t grow your own herbs or have access to the ones I used, use whatever you can get, even if it’s just a few different kinds.
Before we get to chopping though, I want to show you a nice way to add a lovely garlic flavor to your dressing. A “confit” (pronounced cone-fee) is a French method of preserving food in oil. Except, we’re not going to be preserving it this time, we’re going to be eating it.
We’ll be cooking the garlic in oil for a while on low heat. It will soften the garlic, take the bite out, and also flavor your oil. You can skip this part if you’d like and just use olive oil, or olive oil and raw garlic. Please don’t use pre-minced store-bought garlic if you can help it.
Anyway, pour some olive oil in a sauce pan on low heat. I eye-balled it, but I probably used about 1/2-3/4 cup for this recipe.
Drop the peeled garlic cloves in.
I also decided to drop in about 1/4 onion, minced. This will also help take the bite out of the onion and sweeten them up a bit.
Continue cooking the garlic for at least 20-40 minutes, depending on how high the heat is. You want to cook it at least until the garlic is mushy. But don’t let it get too brown and get bitter, or you’ll have to start over.
Site note: This is the time consuming part of this dressing, but you can easily skip over this and it’ll still be awesome. I just wanted to experiment.
In a blender, food processor or Magic Bullet, drop in your handfull of fresh herbs, about 1/4 cup, more or less, of white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar), a touch of sugar or honey if you’d like, your garlic, onions and oil.
Pulverize till it’s smooth.
You can serve immediately or keep in the fridge for a week or two. About 5 days after I made it, the color did start to get a bit dull, just FYI. So feel free to make just enough for that week.
I like to keep my dressings in squeeze bottles so I can shake them easily before use and also use them to decorate more precisely on dishes.
Sorry, no sexy picture to end this recipe with. But you can use your imagination.
Site note: This is not just for salads! This could be used to marinate meats, on top of bruschetta like I did today, in a pasta salad, or on top of fresh veggies. Use your imagination!