4 tbsp olive oil + 3 tsp red wine vinegar + thinly sliced shallots + 1 tsp Dijon mustard + ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
Consider this your basic dressing for pretty much any sort of green. Adjust the Dijon mustard to your level of spice preference, but be sure to use coarsely—never finely—ground pepper. If you have chives in the fridge, chop them up and add them in at the last minute for extra oniony flavor.
Make it Sweet
3 tbsp olive oil + 4 tbsp sherry vinegar + 1 garlic clove, smashed + 2 tbsp honey + ½ tsp orange zest + 2 tsp poppy seeds
Dice the garlic as finely as you can, or mash it in a mortar and pestle if you feel so inclined, so that it doesn't overpower. As for the orange zest, one swipe of the grater does the trick. The sweetness of the sherry works as a great balance to smokier flavors, so use this dressing on a chicory salad, grilled greens or bitter vegetables.
Make it Thick
4 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp lemon juice + 2 tbsp tahini + 2 tsp water + 2 tbsp fresh dill + ¼ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
Tahini errs on the thicker side, so put a little muscle into mixing it before you add the rest of the ingredients. Try this version atop watercress or toss it with still-warm roasted vegetables, such as carrots and eggplant.
Make it Spicy
½ tsp sesame oil + 2 tbsp lime juice + 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar + 2 tbsp fish sauce + ¼ c cashews, toasted and chopped + 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
Chopped cashews lend texture to this Southeast Asian-flavored dressing, while the chile adds a kick at the end. We like to cut up a papaya or mango and toss it with this recipe before setting it atop an herb salad of mint and cilantro. It also works well as a dipping sauce for fried fish. TT tip: You can usually find cashews already toasted. If not, toast them at 350° for eight to 10 minutes.
Make it Complex
2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar + ½ c Greek yogurt + 1 charred poblano
The most nuanced of them all involves just a little bit of heat and a blender. Char your poblano on all sides atop a gas stove or pop it into the broiler until it browns on all sides. Peel it, remove the stem and seeds, then blend it all together. A little more yogurt turns this dressing into the perfect dip for crudités.