Is it OK to spray on salad dressing?

BURNING QUESTIONS

February 28, 2007|By Erica Marcus | Erica Marcus,Newsday

I always get too much or too little dressing on my salad. How can I get a light coating? Should I buy that spray-on salad dressing?

I never advocate buying prepared salad dressings - but I always enjoy listing their ingredients.

Here, for the record, in descending order, is what's in Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Italian Vinaigrette Dressing: high-fructose corn syrup, white-wine vinegar, soybean oil, salt, onion juice, xanthan gum, caramel color, natural flavors and annatto extract. Compare this to the ingredients for homemade vinaigrette: extra-virgin olive oil, good wine vinegar or lemon juice, salt.

The makers of Salad Spritzers are no doubt responding to the sad fact that it is virtually impossible to properly dress an individual portion of salad by pouring dressing onto it. In fact, a sprayer does a better job. But there's no reason why you can't put your own dressing into one of those cheap plastic spray bottles (aka plant misters) widely available at drugstores, supermarkets or hardware stores. I tried this and it worked like a charm.

Let's remember, however, what puts the "tossed" in tossed salad: To dress one, you must toss it, and to toss, you need a big, slope-sided bowl, ideally one that can contain two or three times the amount of salad at hand.

When you've got all your salad ingredients washed and dried, put them in the bowl. Pour a small amount of dressing around the sides, and then using big utensils or, better yet, clean hands, toss from the outside in. After everything is coated, taste to see if you need more dressing.

It entails cleaning an extra bowl, but unless I'm eating alone, I'll empty the salad into a smaller serving bowl, or plate individual portions in the kitchen.

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to burningquestions@newsday.com, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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