Garden Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

I never understand why anyone would want to buy store-bought salad dressings when they’re so easy to make, taste far nicer and aren’t pumped full of preservatives if you make them yourself! I like to make mine in a jam jar so that I can store any leftovers easily in the fridge – it will sit quite happily for up to a week so I often make up double batches to save myself time after a busy day at work. – Jamie Oliver

Serves 4

Equipment list
Small jar with tight fitting lid
Measuring spoons
Cutting board
Peeler Large spoon or tongs
Large bowl

For the dressing
11⁄2 teaspoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
9 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried dill freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad
1 head Boston or small heart of romaine lettuce
1 large or 2 small carrots
1⁄2 cucumber 6 or so radishes
A handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, about 1 cup

1. Put all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake really well. The dressing makes twice as much as you will need for this salad. The rest can be refrigerated for up to a week.
2. For the salad, pull off any wilty or bruised outer leaves. Separate the leaves, tear out any thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash the leaves and spin them in a salad spinner.
3. Peel and grate the carrot, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then into half-moon slices. Slice the radishes thin and cut the cherry tomatoes in half (or leave them whole if you like). Add all the vegetables to the lettuce. Give the dressing a good shake, pour half of it over the salad and toss.

Jamie’s Top Tips
Washing and spinning lettuce dry means no more soggy salads – it will also make the dressing cling to the leaves, rather than ending up at the bottom of the bowl. In my opinion the most important part of the salad is the dressing, don’t drown your salad in dressing- a little goes a long way. Always dress just before serving and use your fingers to make sure all your leaves get a good coating of dressing. Once you have learned to make this salad try adding a few of your favorite other ingredients like a few toasted nuts, some peppery arugula, or some crumbled feta.

More Information
Serving suggestions:
You can start just about any meal with a garden salad or serve it alongside almost anything. Add grilled or boiled shrimp, sliced grilled chicken breast or flank steak to turn a garden salad into a main course.

Tips from the dietitian:
A salad a day keeps the doctor away, and this one won’t clog your arteries like many you find in restaurants. The buttermilk adds flavor and creaminess without adding much fat. Most buttermilk you find in a supermarket nowadays is reduced fat (11⁄2%) but check the label to be sure.
This is a hefty size salad—but you can never eat too many greens! Have you ever read the ingredients on bottled dressing? I bet you can’t pronounce half of them. By making double the amount of dressing, as the recipe suggests, you can keep the rest it in the fridge and it can become your house dressing (and one without a whole bunch of mystery ingredients.) Once you’ve made it, you’ll forget it took any time at all to prepare.

Food safety:
It’s good to wash your lettuce thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or bugs before spinning, ready for dressing and eating.

Adapted from ‘Jamie’s Food Revolution’
Recipe © Jamie Oliver
Photography © Dan Jones

Garden Salad with Buttermilk Dressing