Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Greens Dressings

Dress it Green- Part Three: The Dressings

So here we are. We have the acid and we have the oil. We are ready to combine them with herbs and other ingredients to dress the Spring greens that will be here soon. Light, tangy citrus dressings let the peppery taste of the greens shine through while creamy garlic tones even out bitter notes for a headier taste.  And, of course, the only truly great dressing is one you make yourself. 


In its simplest form, vinaigrette is an emulsion made from oil, vinegar and salt.  Often Dijon mustard is added along with traditional herbs like tarragon, thyme and marjoram.  Creative chefs and kitchen gardeners are experimenting now with different cold pressed oils [see part two], fruited vinegars [see part one], puréed vegetables and other less traditional flavors to make exceptional vinaigrettes with zing.  The ratio of vinegar to oil is generally one part vinegar to three parts oil.  If lemon juice is used in place of the vinegar, the amount of lemon juice should be increased.


Champagne-Raspberry Vinaigrette

3 tbsp             raspberry vinegar

2 tbsp            champagne vinegar or white wine

1 tbsp            honey mustard

1/4 tsp            salt

pinch            freshly ground pepper

3/4 c            nut oil [see part two]

Wisk together the vinegars, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated.

Makes:   1 cup



Mayonnaise uses traditional vinaigrette ingredients but keeps the oil and acid (lemon juice or vinegar) suspended together through the use of eggs.  What used to be a tedious job-- the oil had to be added drop by drop while whisking or beating constantly-- is now ever so easy with the click of the cuisinart.  Remember to store fresh mayonnaise in the refrigerator [ever wonder what they put in the commercial product that it can be stored on the shelf and keep for months?] and use within 2 days. 

Tarragon Mayonnaise

2                  egg yolks

1/2 cup         olive oil

2 tbsp            lemon juice or herbed vinegar

1/2 tsp            salt           

1 tbsp            chopped fresh tarragon

Put egg yolks in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel knife.  Whisk for 2 seconds.  With machine running, very slowly pour in oil in a steady stream and process until mixture is thick.  Keep machine running and add lemon juice and tarragon.

Makes:  1/2 cup


Riversong Brown Mayonnaise ...a Pat Crocker original recipe

This is one of those culinary things that just happen. I was writing my Healing Herbs Cookbook (now out of print) and wanted a zippy mayo-substitute.  I fooled around and since I knew I loved roasted vegetables, I thought I could get something that had the same consistency as mayonnaise, but without the eggs and the calories. Now I make up lots of this tangy purée and use it everywhere: as a spread for grilled fish, tossed with rice or mixed with anchovies for crackers.  It's one of those condiments that will prove to be so versatile in the kitchen. The downside? Its brown. But as far as I am concerned, white isn't exactly organic.

2            onions, peeled & quartered

1            leek, trimmed, washed & coarsely chopped

4            cloves garlic, peeled & halved

3/4 cup   walnut or hazelnut oil, divided

3 tbsp      chopped fresh basil

1/2 tsp     freshly grated sea salt

1/4 cup    balsamic vinegar

Spread onions, leek and garlic on baking sheet.   Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the oil.  Roast in hot oven at 450° F for 15 - 20 minutes, until browned, stirring frequently.

Remove vegetables from oven and spoon directly into a small bowl. 

Stir in the remaining 1/2 c of the oil, basil and salt, cover and allow to sit overnight or

at least 4 hours to blend flavours.

Purée vegetable mixture with vinegar in food processor and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

To Use as a Dressing:  Whisk together 3 tbsp purée with 1/2 cup orange  juice.


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All photographs and recipes are original and copyrighted to Pat Crocker. Pat invites you to use her recipes and share with family and friends. Please contact Pat Crocker for express permission for commercial, internet, or other use of her photographs and recipes.