Grated Olive Is The Unexpected Ingredient For Richer Salad Dressing

If you are looking for a way to take your salad dressing from basic to special, you might want to reach for a jar of olives. Homemade salad dressings are already leagues better than their bottled counterparts, with bright, pungent flavors that just can't be matched by something that's been sitting on the shelf for months. But like anything else, good homemade salad dressing can still get boring, with the same combination of vinegar, citrus, oil, and spices sometimes lacking that spark you need to make your greens extra appealing. While ingredients like shallots or bacon can bring some extra punch as upgrades, there is one addition, the humble olive, that can do more for your salad dressing than almost anything else.

Grating olives is quick and easy and transforms them into a flavorful paste that will blend perfectly into salad dressing. While any kind of fine grater will work, it's best with a microplane or other flat, stainless steel grater that will make it easiest to scrape off the olives and drop them into your dressing. You can use pretty much any type of olive, from Greek to green, that you like, as they'll all bring some nice, salty depth to your salad dressing. Once you've grated them down to a pulp, just beat them into your dressing with a whisk, or shake it in a mason jar to emulsify and mix your dressing, and you're good to go.

Olives add a briny taste and complexity to salad dressing.

As tasty as good homemade salad dressing is, it can be a little one-note, with mostly the flavor or the core acidic ingredient like vinegar coming through. Olives can make such a big difference in salad dressing because they contain a huge variety of flavors. They are briny, acidic, meaty, salty, and funky all by themselves. There really aren't many ingredients like them. Every one of those traits has the power to elevate and transform a sauce or dressing both by adding flavor and bringing out the other tastes that are already in your recipe. Add them all up in one little flavor bomb, and they can transform dishes in a singular way, adding tons of depth and complexity to your dressing without completely overpowering it. Their texture will also help thicken your dressing, and add a pleasant extra level of creaminess.

There aren't too many types of dressing that wouldn't benefit from some grated olive. Vinaigrettes like Italian or Greek dressing are a natural choice, but like the anchovies in a Caesar dressing, creamy options like ranch could benefit from olives' briny flavor as well. The only ones we might avoid are sweeter dressings like honey mustard or Russian, which would clash with olives' powerful taste. But with how simple a grated olive upgrade is, experimenting will be easy, fast, and mostly delicious.