There’s a golden rule when it comes to pairing greens with a dressing: Match the weight of your dressing to the sturdiness of your greens. Muscular kale and romaine can support a thick Caesar dressing, but soft mesclun leaves will wilt under the pressure. A light vinaigrette sets off Bibb lettuce, but it won’t have much impact on a salad of beet greens.
But rules on flavors are less hard and fast. In choosing a dressing for a side salad, you might play off the regional flavors of the main course. If pasta or pizza is the entrée, you might add a little dried oregano and fresh garlic to a basic vinaigrette, or mustard and shallots, if your salad is paired with French flavors. But, with smoky grilled or barbecued food, a buttermilk dressing tastes just right. Peppery greens bring their own bitterness to the bowl, so a dressing for them should be low in acid and relatively rich.
The classic profile of a salad dressing combines tangy, rich, salty, and sometimes sweet. As a rule, a “vinaigrette” is based on an acid (like vinegar or citrus) and an oil. How much of each, though, is a matter of taste. Some people like their vinaigrettes to be half oil, half vinegar, while others go all the way up to one part vinegar to six or seven parts oil.
Finally, for the fastest dressing, there’s no need to mix. Once the salad is in the serving bowl, sprinkle it very lightly with lemon juice or vinegar. Toss, preferably with your fingers, until leaves are evenly coated. Repeat with oil, then with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then enjoy!
The purpose of this passage can best be described as ___________________.