Salad dressing is not among the most visually remarkable condiments, so here's a picture I recently took of wild turkeys in our backyard. I always know it's November when the turkeys arrive. Last week's flock consisted of 11 females and 1 tom (who seemed to be entirely preoccupied with impressing the ladies with his fan). They're a bit noisy, but their clumsiness is a joy to watch. Whenever I shoo them away from our grass seed, they fly up into the branches of nearby trees with what appears to be great effort. The whole maneuver is awkward yet beautiful, like Foghorn Leghorn if he were to take flight in those old Looney Tunes cartoons.
Anyways... this salad dressing packs a real punch. I always keep a jar in the refrigerator. It works best on hearty greens (i.e. kale or romaine), or in a cucumber and tomato salad, or even on tabbouleh and other grain salads. I've found that it overwhelms more delicate greens (i.e. arugula, mâche, red leaf, and bib), which become soggy.
I am aware that anchovies are a very devisive food. Not everyone loves them, but I encourage all of you to at least try them in this dressing. They provide an indispensable umami flavor, plus their fishiness isn't even recognizable. It's important to use a high-quality brand of anchovies. Imported from Italy, the jarred varieties are preferable to the tiny tin cans at most grocery stores. As a general rule of thumb, the highest quality ingredients tend to be better. But there are exceptions. For example, my Mom always used Progresso, so that will always be my favorite wine vinegar because it reminds me of my childhood.
Zesty Salad Dressing
If you prefer a vegan dressing, replace the anchovies with extra capers. This brings the total caper amount to 1½ tablespoons (.75 ounces).
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (1.75 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (1.25 ounces)
- 2 oil-packed anchovies (about .5 ounces)
- ½ tablespoons drained capers (.25 ounces)
- ¾ cup oil (olive, grapeseed, or sunflower)
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
Combine the vinegar, mustard, anchovies, and capers in a blender. While the blender is still running, slowly pour the oil in through the removable blender cap. Be careful because the dressing may splatter. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed (use salt sparingly because anchovies and capers are also salty).