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Salads

Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings

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Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings: 60 Sensational Recipes to Liven up Greens, Grains, Slaws and Every kind of Salad by Michele Anna Jordan; The Harvard Common Press; 2013-07-19

Although I can’t remember quite how I first  met Michele Anna Jordan, I have been a fan of hers for decades. She stayed overnight at my home years ago when she did a reading at a local bookstore, and I remember being entranced by her knowledge of wine and food. We both also share a love of vanilla though Michele is a savory food and good wine gal (but always wears a vanilla-based perfume), and I’m a “Sure I like savory foods but I also want dessert!” queen.

Avocado and Green Peppercorn Cream

 

Avocado and Green Peppercorn Cream
Courtesy of Michele Anna Jordan; Vinaigrettes; Harvard Common Press

Michele says about this recipe: Early one morning in the mid 1980s, I accompanied some friends while they took their VW bus to be repaired at a dealership on the outskirts of La Paz, in central Baja California. As we left to walk into town to wait, we spotted a young boy, possibly in his early teens, wheeling a cart under a tree across from the shop. He quickly unfolded the equipment and before long was serving carnitas tacos that couldn’t have been simpler or more delicious. Two very small corn tortillas, heated on a propane-fired grill, were topped with chunks of succulent meat and then slathered with the most extraordinary avocado sauce I’d ever tasted. I stood there in the morning sun and devoured five tacos, stopping only for the sake of decorum. I’ve been making a version of that sauce ever since, and this one is my current favorite.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This delicious dressing recipe comes from Michele Anna Jordan’s book, Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings: 60 Sensational Recipes to Liven up Greens, Grains, Slaws and Every kind of Salad. Here’s what she says about Balsamic dressings: The simplest balsamic vinaigrette requires nothing more than good vinegar, good olive oil, a bit of salt, and a few turns of black pepper; it’s a perfect daily salad dressing, if your preferences lean toward this popular vinegar. This version is richer than that simple mixture with a layering of flavors that is quite compelling, especially when made with excellent ingredients.

Couscous Waldorf Salad

 

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Several years ago I created this spin on Waldorf Salad for a natural foods market. It was an immediate hit. What I like about it is that you can easily adapt it. Instead of blue cheese, use chevre or feta. Substitute dried cranberries or apricots for dates. You can turn it into an entrée by sauteing chicken breast, tofu or tempe then adding some of the salad dressing to the saute pan to intensify the flavor. If you want this recipe gluten-free, I suggest using quinoa as a substitute.

Orange and Avocado Salad with Citrus, Mint and Vanilla Dressing

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This is a good late winter recipe when the navel oranges are in season. If Cara Cara oranges are available, they’re wonderful! Some people believe they are a cross between a grapefruit and an orange. They aren’t, so don’t worry if you can’t eat grapefruit. Also, any of the mandarin family are good in this salad as well. Feel free to mix up the greens however you’d like. If you have access to watercress, for instance, it would add a nice peppery flavor. You may also substitute thinly sliced fennel instead of cucumber.

Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons, and Sweet Red Peppers

 

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Adapted from The Food of Morocco, by Paula Wolfert

In Morocco as in many Mediterranean countries, the salad course includes a variety of salads, and this lovely salad is a classic in that respect. It’s simple and delicious. However, as I was making this as a stand-alone salad, I added Greek olives. Olives, almonds or pistachios, cheeses, hummus and other salads would be included in a Moroccan spread, so adding a goat or sheep’s milk feta to this salad would be in keeping with Moroccan food. The vanilla? Not so much, but as it’s the theme of our site and because it actually does add a subtle boost to the cumin and red peppers in the salad, I’ve included it in this recipe. Feel free to use it or not.

Corn and Tomato Saute with Vanilla Salt

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The creamy sweetness of corn and vanilla pair together perfectly. So here’s an easy late summer recipe to get you started with Vanilla Salt. This is also a nice, low-fat, low-calorie dish that is great for dieters or to serve as a side dish with grilled meat or fish. As it’s delicious at room temperature and it’s finished with balsamic vinegar, it easily doubles as a salad.

Roasted Mushroom Salad

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Research has shown that mushrooms contain components that help to prevent cancer and stimulate the immune system. At first it was believed that only Asian mushrooms such as shitake and maitake contained cancer-preventing ingredients, but it appears that even domestic mushrooms are powerful healers. Combined with other healthy ingredients and a bit of vanilla, this is a Power combination that tastes delicious!

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For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see "Why is Vanilla so Expensive?"

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