By Gail Gordon Oliver


Springtime is back-to-the-grill time. And what teams better with grilled foods than local asparagus, crisp salads and grilled vegetables? These simple dressings perform double-duty as both vinaigrettes for salads and cooked vegetables and marinades for meats, poultry, fish, tofu, tempeh, and any other foods that take well to marinating.

A few reminders when marinating foods:

• Most marinades contain some sort of acid such as vinegar, citrus, wine and/or yogurt. Use nonreactive containers – glass, stainless steel or ceramic – and avoid the use of aluminum containers and zip-top plastic bags (aluminum or plasticizer chemicals will leach into your food).

• To avoid mushy fish, make sure never to marinate fish or seafood longer than 30 minutes. Meats and poultry should be marinated for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

• Immediately discard any marinades that have been used with meats, poultry or fish. Do not reuse them or serve them.


I sometimes make this more assertive by upping the quantity of Worcestershire and hot sauce and adding freshly grated horseradish (or bottled horseradish in a pinch). Bloody Mary salad, anyone?

Makes about 2/3 cup

1/2 cup tomato juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp celery seed (optional)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash (or more) hot sauce