Week 5 Finalists: Best Salad Dressing

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Salad Dressing by Leslie

We love the fact that this dressing can be made in just a few minutes and also contains a couple of surprises: the additions of both golden (or white) balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. (Why didn't we think of that last one?) But what thrills us the most is Leslie's suggestion to just throw everything in a jar and shake. It's an easy way to emulsify the ingredients, and storing leftovers is a snap. We added 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire, as the "drops" from our bottle seemed quite small. The dressing benefits from some sitting time, which simultaneously intensifies and rounds out the flavors.


The recipe calls for golden balsamic vinegar- white balsamic is the same thing.




Smashing a whole garlic clove with the side of a chef's knife releases the juices and makes it very easy to peel.


We decided to combine all the ingredients. As the garlic was left relatively whole, the flavor becomes more pronounced the longer it sits.


Before mixing. Notice the drops of Worcestershire- pretty! We noticed that "drops" of Worstershire can vary greatly, so we ended up measuring, and added 1/4 teaspoon altogether.



After shaking, we seasoned. As the garlic flavor will become more pronounced, and the flavors will meld, it's a good idea to season gently at the beginning, and then re-taste later.


This dressing tastes great after being left on the counter for a few hours.


Bacon Vinaigrette by Stephanie

A classic French preparation, this dressing is tangy, smoky and salty all at once. Anything that begins with bacon already has a leg up, and we love how the acidity of the red wine vinegar balances the richness of the pork fat. Because this dressing is served warm, it wilts the greens slightly, so we recommend something that holds its own, like Stephanie's suggestion of endive, or maybe some escarole. Because all bacon slices are not created equal, you may want to start with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and taste before adding more. You can always correct with a bit of vegetable oil if the dressing is too tart.


The recipe called for four slices of bacon. We were using especially thick cut bacon, so we only used two. Next time, we might use three.


Lots of little lardons.


Starting the lardons in a cool pan allows the small pieces of bacon to cook evenly.




Just as the bacon was approaching good and crisp, we added the shallots. By the time the shallots were softened, the bacon was ready.


As slices of bacon render differently, the amount of fat we had was not quite enough to support the 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar called for in the recipe. Next time we'd start with 2 tablespoons and taste.


After seasoning, it's all ready for a salad!