Getting dressed can be a chore, especially in the sweltering season. Shorts and sandals always seem to win out.
Salad, on the other hand, loves dressing. Slick vinaigrettes slipped over butter lettuce. Chunky Roqueforts paired with iceberg. Rich emulsions to soothe potatoes or perk up romaine. Salad’s closet is packed with options: Russian, ranch, green goddess. And the accessories! Bacon shards, poppy seeds, chive blossoms.
The wide wardrobe isn’t mere vanity. Consider salad’s social calendar. Three-bean calls for sharp, coleslaw for creamy, mixed fruit for sweet. What of tuna, pasta and quinoa? A uniform would never do.
Just one rule holds fast, at least according to “The Joy of Cooking:” Dressings, it admonishes “should never repeat in their composition the materials they grace.”
Inspiring insurrection. Swirling together a dill and cucumber vinaigrette, I lavished it over lettuce, tomato … and cucumber. It was as refreshing as a sleeveless shift on a breezy evening. Proving that stylish dressing is all about attitude.
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh dill
1/4 cup honey mustard
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola (or other mild) oil
Chop: Peel cucumber. Halve it the long way. Use a small spoon to scrape out seeds; discard seeds. Chop cucumber into chunks.
Swirl: Pile all ingredients except oils into the blender or food processor. Pulse a few times. Swirl smooth. With machine running, slowly pour in oil until vinaigrette is thickened and glossy.
Serve: Nice over a simple salad of sliced Boston lettuce, chopped tomato, cucumber and avocado. OK, maybe some crumbled bacon too.
Store: Pour into a glass jar. Seal and chill.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.