Welcome to Plus One, a column by Food Editor Emily Ziemski where those small-but-mighty additions that instantly upgrade whatever’s on the table—ingredients, sauces, toppings—are the star of the show. Today, a dressing made in homage to her favorite drink; shaken, not stirred.
As we predicted in our top cocktail trends of 2023, the gin martini is, and will continue to be, a star. Vodka martinis have always landed a tad flat for me, and I believe it's the lack of herbal aromatics—like juniper and coriander—that gin is known for. My go-to drink order lately is “an extra-dirty gin martini, and please can you give me a little extra cup of olive brine, and maybe a few more olives too.” My quest for this piquant saltiness is also top of mind for me when I’m cooking.
This dressing is my weeknight treat, my little “I deserve a dinner that’s so good right now” pick-me-up, a sparkling delight in these bleak winter months. Leaning heavily on olive brine, I add tangy smooth mustard to gin—oh yes, there’s a splash of that in there— plenty of herbs to highlight the spirit’s herbaceous qualities, plus minced garlic. These big, bold flavors are a dream for simple vegetables and leafy greens. My aim here was to make this dressing so unforgettable that it’d make you want to abandon your whole life to go make it for Harry Styles, à la Olivia Wilde.
My chosen pairing here is a bed of little gem lettuce. I love little gem for its tenderness and slight sweetness, along with its delightful crunch. That said, this dressing is all-purpose and can also be used on other veggies and even as a marinade, if you’d like.
Alternately, if you don’t want to drag out the food processor, you can put all ingredients in a jar and shake by hand until combined. Just be sure to finely chop your rosemary first as the food processor won’t be there to help you break down the herb further! —Emily Ziemski
olive brine (preferably from green olives)
smooth Dijon mustard
garlic cloves, peeled and minced
extra-virgin olive oil
botanical gin (I like Tommyrotter or The Botanist, or Seedlip for a NA version)
rosemary, leaves de-stemmed and roughly chopped
kosher salt, plus more to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
In a small food processor (or a medium bowl), combine the brine, mustard, and garlic. Pulse to combine (or whisk if using a bowl). Using the opening in the top of the food processor, slowly stream in the olive oil until thoroughly combined. If mixing by hand, slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking vigorously. Add the gin, rosemary, coriander, and salt. Pulse or whisk until thoroughly combined. Taste, then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve over your favorite veggies or tossed with fresh, crunchy salad greens. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; whisk or shake to re-emulsify before serving.
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