Springtime dishes are next level with Ginny Grant’s bright and flavoursome dressings.

One of the fallacies of spring eating is that there is a wide variety of fresh greens. In reality it’s mostly winter vegetables such as cabbage, carrots and broccoli that are available. That isn’t a bad thing. With the exception of the joy of the asparagus season, the winter thrall is starting to fade and that’s when we really need to start dressing up our greens and grains to make for vibrant and more dynamic eating.

At its most basic, a dressing is a combination of fats, acids and flavourings. Vinaigrette is the perfect example. The standard ratio is one part acid, in the form of a vinegar, to three parts oil. Shake or whisk it in a jar and it will emulsify briefly before separating again. Adding a more stable emulsifier ingredient such as mustard or tahini (or an egg yolk for a mayonnaise) helps the vinegar and oil to stay cosy. Adding an acid in the form of vinegar or citrus adds brightness and zing, while fat provides richness, a rounding of flavour and creates mouthfeel and fullness. A good dressing will help to temper bitterness, soften ingredients, add sweetness or saltiness and help to bring out savoury umami.

I’ve tried here to give a good selection of dressings to liven up your meals; some are creamy and rich, others spicy and deeply savoury while others play with sweetness and bitterness. In each case I have given a recipe to serve with the dressing plus a couple of other serving suggestions.