Salad Dressing with Farmer Caroline at the PEAS Farm
Farmer Caroline Stephens works with students at the PEAS Farm as the farm’s lecturer teaching all about farming, from weeding to soil microbiology. Recently, she shared some of her favorite salad dressing recipes. Caroline grew up making salad dressing from scratch with her mother. Both her mom and grandmother have special formulas for making the perfect dressing.
The basic dressing recipe:
Incorporate acid – (vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc) and an oil. Caroline usually uses apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.
Emulsify the oil and vinegar with a fork or whisk.
The ratio: Caroline’s grandma uses the ratio - 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 oil for her dressings, but Caroline doesn’t usually measure ingredients. Instead she’ll decide by taste and add more as needed. Tasting is an important step! The key idea is to have more olive oil than vinegar. Caroline said it’s better to start with less, taste and slowly add in more.
Other ingredients to add: garlic, black pepper, salt, dijon mustard, honey, maple syrup, agave
Vinaigrette dressing with herbs:
1/3 part Acids - lemon juice and apple cider vinegar
2/3 parts Olive oil
Herbs – parsley, basil, thyme, dill, and chervil or whatever herbs you have. Use as many as you want — watch the video to see what Caroline used! A lot!
Add in – a touch of Dijon mustard, a little bit of garlic, salt, pepper (you could also use yogurt, mayonnaise, anchovy paste, spices, fruit). These are just fun flavors that bring their own flare to your dressing!
Add everything together, stems on the herbs and all into a tall, wide-mouthed container or jar. Use an immersion blender and mix.
Caroline’s twist on Lemon Cream Dressing from the book Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden:
About a half cup of cream – Caroline used half and half.
4 smashed garlic cloves
zest of the lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Let the garlic and cream sit in the fridge for a half an hour to infuse garlic into the cream. Take out garlic. Squeeze half a lemon and add lemon zest into the cream. Add salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk. Pour in olive oil while whisking. Caroline loves this recipe with spinach and arugula.
Caroline’s mom’s pro tip for keeping salad fresh:
Make the dressing in the bottom of a big salad bowl. Put whatever veggies you’re using to make the salad on top of the dressing, placing the hardiest first, then lettuce, then the nuts or seeds on the very top. This prevents the salad from wilting before eating it. Right before you’re ready to eat, toss the salad and enjoy!