Editor’s Note: I make salads for dinner a couple times a week, and I’m always looking for inspiration. Perhaps I’ll find it here in Michele Anna Jordan’s book. Let’s see what Pen & Fork’s cookbook editor Linda Avery thinks.
By the way, congratulations are in order for Ms. Avery. She was selected as a cookbook judge for this year’s prestigious James Beard Awards.
Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings:
60 Sensational Recipes to Liven Up Greens, Grains, Slaws and Every Kind of Salad
by Michele Anna Jordan
photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink © 2013
As I anticipate warmer weather, my thoughts turn to barbeques, bringing picnics to outdoor concerts, and lighter dinners. When I saw Michele Anna Jordan’s newest book, Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings, I thought about how easy it is to brighten up an old recipe simply by changing or adding a dressing.
Change up your go-to vinaigrette recipe by switching walnut oil for the olive oil, or instead of serving butter with grilled sweet corn, put on a drizzle of warm bacon-maple vinaigrette. This book brings lots of ideas without a whole lot of deep thought. Easy, breezy, perfect for summer.
The intro to Jordan’s book speaks to basics, i.e., what to have on hand for most any salad, the right tools and food safety. That’s followed by 27 vinaigrette recipes from a Balsamic Vinaigrette to Blood Orange, Ginger-Mustard, Warm Fava, and Watermelon, to name a few.
Enter the international world and she gives us Harissa sauce, Raita with many variations, Thai Lime Dressing, and about nine more in that realm. That chapter is followed by Classically Creamy dressings such as aioli, mayonnaise, Green Goddess, etc.
The last chapter is Sassy and Spirited Salads including a fruit salad dressed with Mimi’s Tears, composed of absinthe, honeydew, lime and cucumber, and Warm Bacon Potato Salad (with six variations!).
After each recipe there is a sentence of two about best uses for the particular dressing with suggestions like using the walnut vinaigrette on a salad of roasted beets, feta, and pomegranate arils, or wild rice with dried cranberries, or grilled scallops.
Also, each recipe is flavor profiled with tags such as creamy, rich, sweet, etc. The following recipe’s tags are savory, tangy, fragrant and spicy. It’s a good thing.
Italian-Style Salsa Verde
photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink © 2013
Although Italian salsa verde is traditionally considered a condiment rather than a salad dressing, it is one of the best dressings in the world for certain types of salads, especially those made with grains, rice, or tiny pasta. Barley, farro, brown rice, or Israeli couscous dressed with nothing more than this is absolutely extraordinary. It is also delicious with a wide range of other foods, from raw zucchini sliced into thin ribbons to grilled meats.
Makes about 2 cups
4 cups loosely packed fresh Italian parsley, chopped
6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, very thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and minced, or 2 tablespoons brined
green peppercorns, drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
Black pepper in a mill
1. Put the parsley, scallions, cucumber, garlic, and capers in a medium bowl and toss
with a fork.
2. Put the mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl, season generously with
salt, and stir in the olive oil. Season with several turns of black pepper and pour over
the parsley mixture. Taste, and correct for salt and acid as needed.
3. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes before using. Although salsa verde is best when first made, it can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.
Traditional salsa verde to serve with meat: Omit the scallions, cucumber, and lemon
juice. Add 2 tablespoons anchovy paste or 12 anchovy fillets, mashed, along with the
mustard and 2 to 3 tablespoons (to taste) of red wine vinegar.
Traditional salsa verde to serve with fish: Omit the scallions and cucumber. Add 2
tablespoons anchovy paste or 12 anchovy fillets, mashed, along with the mustard and
Raw zucchini ribbons; grilled radicchio; grilled asparagus; grilled cabbage wedges; whole roasted cauliflower; farro salad; barley salad; pasta salad with small pasta, such as acini di pepe; bread salad; grilled fish, poultry, and beef; pulled pork sandwiches