Watercress Salad with Chicken, Fennel, and Pickled Shallots
Why This Recipe Works
In addition to oil and vinegar (or lemon juice), we make our vinaigrette with a combination of emulsifiers (mustard and mayonnaise) and a stabilizer (molasses), which help the emulsion form and hold for several days. We also use a 2:1 ratio of extra-virgin olive oil to vegetable oil, which prevents the oil molecules from bonding together and solidifying in the refrigerator while still allowing the distinct flavor of the olive oil to come through. The dressing template is adaptable to a variety of oils and acids, as well as aromatics and fresh herbs. The dressing complemented just about any salad green I tried, from plain leafy lettuces to the heartier combinations I created using cooked chicken with spinach, watercress, and arugula.