Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Salad Sauce


What I am basically talking about here is a green salad and how to you prepare it. Sounds a bit funny I know, but living in a country where every housewife has their own salad sauce, I was just wondering how everyone else does it.

In my younger days, back at home with mum in the East End of London, a salad was a mixture of cold stuff, like salad, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and whatever, all on a plate. The next step was to take a bottle of Heinz 57 varieties salad cream (and we are not talking about mayonnaise) and throw it all over the salad, leaving a trail of a thick yellowish cream. It tasted quite good, not knowing anything else. It might have destroyed the vitamine offering vegetable in the salad, but covering it with a thick cream cholesterol packed sauch, but you did not know anything else.

One day I moved out to another country. At first the transition was to a Pakistani family, where I got acquanted with Indian food (for two years). The lady in the family was Swiss, so when her husband was away on a business trip, we sort of reverted back to Swiss food and salad was made. Not the way it was done at home, the lady made her own sauce. My first meeting with a salad sauce was using salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil (sunflower oil).

Then the day came when I moved in with Mr. Swiss. We were not yet married, but almost. Anyhow, I was cooking for him and me. After a while, the marriage vows were sealed, and I had still never prepared a salad. His two children came to live with us from his first marriage, and salad was still missing from the menu.

Then came the day when Mr. Swiss told me that although I enjoyed my cooking skills, what about some fresh salad for a change. It was then that my confession was made with the question, how do you make a salad sauce? Mr. Swiss  being brought up in a Swiss household of course knew the answer and after a few short lessons in the kitchen I commanded knowledge of the Swiss salad dressing. Over the years (now it is 44 years) I refined the basic recipe and realised that a salad dressing was the key to all sorts of inventive ideas. I am basically talking about a green salad, with leaves. Although you can mix it with tomatoes, cucumber and whatever, but I myself have another recipe if the salad is only tomatoes or cucumber. This is my lettuce/salad salad dressing.

1. Take an echalotte (one of those smaller reddish coloured onions) and chop it into pieces. As I like a bit of onion, I might even just cut it into quarters and make slices, giving the onion a bit of bite, but of of course you can really dice it small.

2. Take a garlic clove and rub it on a grating device. You can also put it in a garlic crusher, but dragging it over the teeth of a grater I find less wasteful.

3. Any herbs around (preferable fresh from the garden)? In summer yes, but in winter you make do with what you can buy in the supermarket or used the dried ones in the glass. My preference is chopped chives and parsley. If it is a cucumber salad then definitely dill and if tomatoe a sprinkling of basil is always a good idea.

4. Then a good sprinkling of Aromat. This video shows what happens if a Mr. Swiss has no Aromat. It is a life maintaining ingredient in any Swiss household.

It is a product of the company Knorr, a yellow spicy powder and every Swiss smothers his food in it, so it is a standard ingredient of my salad sauce. Replaces salt.

5. I then mill some black pepper in the sauce.

6. A squeeze of mustard (any mustard, but I pefer Dijon) and a squeeze of mayonnaise - all from the tube.

6. One Spoonfull of vineger (I use white wine vineager, but Mr. Swiss prefers apple vineger), three spoonfulls of sunflower oil (you can also use olive oil, peanut oil or whatever you prefer).

7. Then mix it all either with a whisk (I find the texture is better) or a spoon and there you have your salad sauce according to Mr. and Mrs. Swiss.

Throw the washed and sized down salad into the sauce and mix it all, just before serving.

Salad Sauce

The reason for this blog is not for me to show how to do it, but there is a great interest on my side to know how do you do it. We are all from various parts of the world and I have a feeling that this is really something peculiar to each country we live in.


  1. My childhood memories are of salads similar to the ones you described. The various salad items thrown on a plate then smothered in Heinz salad cream. Growing up in my grandmother's house, that was the traditional way. I've never been much of a fan of salads because of this, although I'm always willing to try new versions of it. I must say, yours sounds delicious!!

  2. My mom used the same 57 Heinz varieties, I guess, LOL. Later she made her own sauce which I use too, more or less.
    Sunflower oil, some mustard, salt, pepper and garlic.

    I have Aromat in my cupboard but never thought to use it in my green salad. I use it in an egg salad and on my cheese sandwich. So thanks for the idea :)

  3. I always mix olive oil with apple vinegar and add thinly chopped coriander. Very simple, isn't it?
    Yours must be very good..

  4. When I was growing up we used red wine vinegar and olive oil...some times we would use Good Seasons Italian Dressing (it is a powder packet of seasonings that you add oil, vinegar and water too)

    There are a lot of bottled dressing in the USA so many that I can't name them all but Ranch Dressing seems to be one of the most popular.

    Oil and Vinegar is still my favorite...

  5. My Mother used to make a lovely dressing using condensed milk, eggs. mustard and I forget what else.
    There are so many different dressings one can buy here so we have all become lazy and buy.

  6. When I was a child we ate fried potatoes and salad every Sunday... preparing the mayonnaise after the mass has been my job for years...My mother has never bought a pot of salad dressing as long as we were all at home. My mother-in-law always served salad with a "vinaigrette" (wine vinagar, olive oil and some chopped échalotte).That's how my husband liked his salad... I didn't like it at all neither did the children. Later, when I was alone with them I experimented with some powder sachets... we liked them because it tasted sweeter than the "vinaigrette" with wine vinegar... but I've never felt at ease with ready-made things and then I discovered balsamic vinegar, first the red one, then the white one... and we could all 3 reconcile with "vinaigrette"!! My basis recipe is 2 spoons of white balsamic vinegar, 3 spoons of olive oil, chopped échalotte and garlic, a little salt and pepper and then some fantasy...

  7. People with inflammatory problems (rheumatism...) should avoid sunflower oil and prefer olive oil,rapeseed oil, nut oil... Sunflower oil contains only omega6 and that works inflammatory :)

  8. had such a giggle at the Aromat story. I have never used Aromat in my life, had no idea what it was and a great beliver in organic foods and natural flavourants including Herbal salt etc till I met my Mr SA !! Aromat on everything, used for the chicken roast with loads of oils or fat to moisturise and flavor and tenderise, same with the pork roast and not forgetting aromat in the brown gravy with Bisto and Maizena for colour and thickening.

    Enter Miss Great Dane ........ horrror uupon horror, no can do, my cholesterol etc ........ Miss Beatric, cook cum housekeeper, throws arms in the air " eish Madam, then you cook!" ....... okey dokey so can do..... say what ........ 26 on Wednesday? .......... Family Dinner......... "where is the Aromat?" I will comply and do a smallish , will try smallish blog with my salad secrets ( not know to Miss Beatrice) now..... Thank you for sharing. *chuckle*