Saturday, May 26, 2012
The Best Salad Dressing Ever!
With the weather starting to warm up, I wanted to share my favorite salad dressing. I found it in one of my favorite new cookbooks, Savoring The Seasons of the Northern Heartland, which has tons of great recipes, some traditional and some offered up by some of the best restaurants and chefs in the northern Midwest.
I first made the dressing as part of the recipe for a chicken salad with apples and pecans, but I was blown away by the sweet-savory combination of the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette. I love it so much, I would eat it with a spoon. It's really that good. The cookbook also suggests using the vinaigrette as a basting sauce for chicken, pork, or steak. I haven't used it for basting, but I'll bet that would taste super, too.
The salad that I put together had fresh greens (of course), deli ham, dried cranberries, diced apples, walnuts and some cut up dried apricots.
My sister-in-law once said that the best salads are ones that others make, maybe because of the prep time involved with all the slicing and dicing. I do think, though, that simpler is better in terms of number of ingredients. I don't usually add more than 4-5 to the greens, although there are other schools of thought, exemplified by my step-dad, who puts any leftover bits and bites that happen to be in the fridge. I call it the "Anything tastes fine with enough ranch dressing" method of salad composition. He seems to like it, so who am I to judge? ;-)
from Savoring The Seasons of the Northern Heartland
makes 2 cups
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 shallots, peeled and diced
1 tsp freshly ground paper
1 Tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon coarse mustard
2/3 cup maple syrup (I highly recommend using pure maple syrup)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil and it turned out just as tasty)
Put the first 7 ingredients (everything except the oil) into a blender. Blend on high, then pour in the oil in a slow stream (with the blender still running) and process until thick.