I made Olivia Wilde’s salad and am even more perplexed about the “special” dressing

I made Olivia Wilde’s salad and am even more perplexed about the “special” dressing

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis’ breakup has been the subject of controversy, and according to a recent interview, a salad dressing made for Harry Styles contributed to the drama.

Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, and Jason Sudeikis.
Franco Origlia is a contributor to Getty Images. Rich Fury is a contributor to Getty Images.

People reported in November 2020 that Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis ended their seven-year engagement. The couple is parents to a son named Otis and a daughter named Daisy.

Wilde and Harry Styles were initially linked together in January 2021, when Page Six published images of the pair attending Styles’ manager’s wedding.

While the actress claimed that her split with Sudeikis was amicable, the family’s former nanny told the Daily Mail that this was not the case and that the “Ted Lasso” star was so “brokenhearted” that he laid under her car one night to prevent her from driving away with a salad and dressing she had made for Styles.

The babysitter claimed the Daily Mail that Jason told her, “She made this salad with her special dressing, and she’s leaving with her salad to eat dinner with Harry.”

Therefore, the question remains: what is this condiment? And is it truly so unique?

Grocery store salad dressings in bottles.

Staff member Scott Olson/Getty Images

Let’s get one thing straight: It’s likely not the dressing.

Breakups are unpredictable and might throw you for a loop. I empathize with you, Jason.

But I also know that a good salad dressing can throw you for a similar loop, altering your perception of what salads and even well-dressed greens may be. It can convert a salad hater into a leafy greens fanatic. It can cause you to pine for a restaurant’s acidic, lemony frisée in the same way you pine for an ex who has gone on.

After observing that Sudeikis deemed this salad and dressing essential enough to mention in text messages to his children’s nanny, I was eager to try it for myself.

Wilde appeared on “Questlove’s Potluck” in May of 2020 and prepared an exquisite salad with homemade dressing. She offered a similar recipe from a Nora Ephron novel on October 18.

Olivia Wilde and Questlove (left) and Wilde’s October 18 Instagram story (right).

Paul Zimmerman/Stringer/Getty Images

On Food Network, I discovered a recipe attributed to Wilde for roasted salmon salad with zucchini and potatoes. It has two distinct dressing recipes, one for a standard vinaigrette and the other for a lemony dill dressing intended for seasoning fish.

After salad-dressing-gate went viral on Tuesday, she uploaded a page from Nora Ephron’s “Heartburn” on Instagram. In the middle of the page was the recipe for a red wine vinegar, Grey Poupon, and olive oil vinaigrette.

The dressing recipe of the author was similar to, but not identical to, that of Oscar Wilde. Therefore, I stuck with the one she signed.

This salad required 19 ingredients (including salt and pepper).

Ingredients for Olivia Wilde’s salmon and veggie salad.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

This recipe consists of two distinct components: salmon and vegetables, and salad with vinaigrette.

I needed olive oil, garlic, dill, shallot, lemon, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, a potato, zucchini, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and skinless salmon fillet for the first section.

The second recipe called for red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, kosher salt, garlic, olive oil, greens, kalamata olives, feta, and cucumber.

In accordance with the directions, I started by placing the fish and vegetables in the oven.

I prepared a dressing and drizzled it over the fish and vegetables.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

I created the first dressing for this dish by briskly shaking a container containing 1/4 cup of olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 3 sprigs of dill (chopped), 1/2 shallot (finely chopped), 1/2 lemon (juice only), a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of smoky paprika.

Then, I peeled and sliced the russet potato, zucchini, and the remaining half of my onion and stacked them on a sheet of parchment paper that had been oiled. I placed the salmon fillet in the center of the salad and drizzled it with half of the dressing.

I thought this dressing was great. It was bright and acidic due to the lemon, opulent due to the olive oil, textural due to the garlic and shallot, and packed with flavor because to the dill.

Due to the fact that Wilde published the Ephron quote, I do not think this to be the “special garnish” in question.

Her recipe calls for cooking the salmon in a parchment paper pouch, which is not an easy procedure.

This is more difficult than it appears.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The recipe is categorized as “simple,” but the fact that this one step is necessary makes it somewhat more challenging.

Cooking on parchment paper, or en paupiette, results in a deliciously moist dish, although it is difficult to prepare. This step alone did not take me thirty minutes because I have completed it before. The first time I attempted it, there was a great deal of trial and error.

I could sit here and describe how I hastily pinched, tucked, and rolled the parchment’s edges toward the center until it appeared to be sealed, but you’d be better off watching a YouTube instructional.

While the salmon was cooking, I began preparing the remaining components of the dish, including the vinaigrette dressing.

Wilde’s vinaigrette dressing.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

Now, this resembles the dressing recipe from Ephron’s story more closely.

Two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one teaspoon of honey, one sliced clove of garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt are combined in Wilde’s recipe. Then, she instructs home chefs to gradually include two to four teaspoons of olive oil.

My impression is that the ratios were wildly inaccurate. It lacked flavor harmony and, as a result, was excessively vinegar-forward, which overwhelmed the other ingredients and the salad as a whole.

Then, I constructed the salad’s base, which included olives, cucumber, and feta.

I topped the prepared greens with kalamata olives, cucumber, and crumbled feta cheese.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

In the second-to-last step of this elaborate salad-making process, the greens were dressed and then topped with cucumber coins, pitted kalamata olives, and crumbled feta.

Wilde did not specify that the olives be chopped, sliced, or otherwise manipulated. This salad had 10 olives, or five olives per tablespoon, which seemed excessive to me. She did not specify the type of cucumber or the total number of “coins” to slice, which makes a significant difference in how much ends up in the completed dish (I used a large English cucumber, so a quarter of it gave a substantial amount of the green discs).

Once more, the ratios appeared off.

As directed, I put it all together, and I was honestly perplexed.

The completed salad.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

In the Thanksgiving episode of season six of “Friends,” Jennifer Aniston’s character prepares an English trifle. Her meal has sweet components such as custard and jam, followed by a savory aspect of beef sautéed with peas and onions. Other characters who fact-check her work are perplexed to see that she mistakenly blended two entirely unrelated recipes. This, dear reader, is precisely what I thought as I assembled and then sampled Wilde’s salad.

The fish, zucchini, and potatoes appeared to be a complete entrée, while the greens, olives, feta, and cucumber appeared to be the start of a Greek-style salad.

When I piled the protein on top of the salad and took a mouthful, my cynicism was confirmed. The fish was quite tasty. Very tasty were the zucchini, potatoes, shallots, and lemon dressing. The raw vegetables and feta were delicious. However, the combination made no sense to me.

If this is how Wilde creates her exclusive recipes, I ask whether the salad dressing was the stuff of culinary dreams or whether it was the final straw for a sad guy to leave.

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