Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm Back! With Salad Dressing!

Hi, everyone. I don't know why it's been so hard for me to get over here and write lately. A few out-of-town trips and apparently I'm all wackadoo. I do have lots to write about, but I thought I'd start my comeback with something I know a few of you want, and that I'd been working on for quite a bit. Salad Dressing!

I don't have a name for this. It's just the everyday vinaigrette that I use when I'm not celebrating a seasonal acid (lemons, blood oranges, etc.) This is pantry food at it's best. You can use it as you would any vinaigrette, but I like it best in a salad with whatever good fruit we're getting (apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, grapes, grapefruit, persimmon, pomegranate, and pretty much all types of orange have been tried with success), a little cheese (parm, pecorino romano, goat cheese, feta, and mozzarella are all good), and nuts (pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, especially glazed spiced walnuts, etc.) It's fun to try out different combinations, and you can certainly also add any of your favorite salad ingredients. I love thinly sliced fennel bulbs and fresh herbs, and I can see red onions working well also if you like them.

So, a word on a few ingredients, and we'll begin. I've been futzing with this dressing for at least 8 years and it's gone through two rounds of official recipe testing, so rest assured that everything's there for a reason before you start experimenting. I started using organic Raw Agave Syrup for the dash of sweet because of the sugar-sensitive people in my life. It's got a clean flavor and a really low glycemic index, but I kept using it because it's great at emulsifying the dressing, too. You can pick it up at Henry's, Jimbo's, Whole Foods and the like. For the curry powder, I can't emphasize enough that a quality product is important. Whatever you do, don't use the curry powder you'd find in the spice aisle at a big grocery store. It's awful. Go to an Indian market. There you'll find quite a few varieties which you can play around with if you like, but I'd recommend a nice bright red blend. You'll save a buck, too. So.

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or smashed (depending on whether you like a lot or a little)
1 tbsp. raw agave syrup
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. + small pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cardammom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. Shake again before pouring. A little goes a long way. Leftovers can be kept sealed in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!


Lindsay said...

Yum! Can't wait until I'm able to cook again, so I can try it!

Brandi said...

oh my word, that sounds good! i'm making it tomorrow.

might have to give the curry a google. i've been using grocery store curry and didn't notice it was disgusting; i must not know what i'm missing! no indian markets in my small town.

my favorite salad: mixed greens, fresh pitted cherries, pistachios, and goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette. yum!

jessica said...

I hope you like it! I think cherries will be so perfect! I can't wait 'til we get some now. But I should know the pitfalls of generalizations. You may very well be super-lucky in your supermarket and it's curry. I do know mine is just flat. But if you already like yours, give it a go.

Steve and Kelley said...

Tigawesomer! I'm all over this one.

Lacey said...

VinaiYUMYUM + Ex-Girlfriend chicken = HEAVEN. Just sent a link to Cindy so she can relive that deliciousness. So happy to read you are doing well! End of May S.D. tickets purchased, even planning on bringing (new) Matt... Love you, Lace

Lindsay said...

Any thoughts on substitutions for the curry - if it turns out to be too much for the kids?

jessica said...

I would just ask for a mild curry. This recipe gives you a lot of dressing and you only need a little per salad, so the 1 tsp. of curry ends up being very little in your bowl. You could start with half as much to be safe, but I think a substitution would just give you a totally different dressing. Good luck!