I offer you here a blueprint dressing you can use for endless variations. The three that follow are classic combos, but I hope you’ll be inspired to put your own spin on them. A few more ideas off the top of my head: stir in a spoonful of pesto or a spice blend; swirl in some chili oil or blend with a spoonful of herb sauce. Play around with different combinations and don’t feel limited to use them on lettuce alone. Creamy dressings make great dips for crudités or chips, of course, but can work as a sauce for poached shrimp or simple seared fish. A smear can do wonders for a plate of boiled potatoes or (cooked from frozen) French fries.
For the Base: Whisk together the ingredients. Add one of the combinations below to change it up, then whisk in a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Transfer to a resealable jar or container and refrigerate up to 1 week.
Ranch: Add 2 scallions, thinly sliced; 1 clove garlic, grated, pressed, or finely chopped; and lots of freshly ground black pepper to the base and whisk to combine.
Caesar: Add 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped; 1 clove garlic, grated; and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan to the base and whisk to combine.
Cheese: Add 4 ounces crumbled feta, goat cheese, or mild blue cheese to the base and whisk to combine