To sell her readers on vinaigrettes and dressings, Michele Jordan must first sell salad, and she does so with a poet’s flair: “From a few leaves of just-picked lettuces damp with an evening’s rain and a creamy frenzy of earthy potatoes napped in a velvety mayonnaise to a cool mound of silky rice noodles in a tart and fierty dressing, salads . . . keep us healthy, happy, and alive.”
During my many years in the kitchen, sauces were the foundation of many dishes. In our modern cuisine, dressings have replaced sauces. In Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings, Michele Anna Jordan shows how to use dressings to great advantage to season, moisten, accent, highlight, and harmonize dishes from salads to first courses to main dishes–with delicious results.
Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings, my sixteenth book, is more than a collection of recipes. The opening sections offers advice that applies to our entire lives in the kitchen and in the marketplace, as how we procure our ingredients is every bit as important and perhaps more so than what we do with them. And although it is not reflected in the title, there is a full chapter of salad recipes, recipes that I think of as templates with variations inspired by the seasons and personal taste. For example, traditional Caprese Salad includes sliced mozzarella fresca, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and, maybe, a little vinegar, depending on who is making it. It is wonderful when tomatoes are in season locally. When they are not, why settle for tasteless tomatoes? The book has recipes for similar salads for winter, spring, and late fall, after the first frost. In springtime, I make a Caprese-style salad with fresh lava beans, thinly sliced French breakfast radishes, sliced spring onions, spearmint, and chives. I approach all salads this way.