Friday, January 7, 2011

Fired Up Salad Dressing

Yesterday’s late afternoon walk felt downright balmy – hat, gloves and ski jacket notwithstanding. The soft breeze brushed my face along with the lowering sun, and suddenly there was a whiff of something bright and clean and curiously green in the air.

It smelled, just for a nanosecond, of spring.

Of course it wasn’t really spring, not at all. Only a reminder that however entrenched winter seems right now, it will be gone before we know it.

matchPerhaps because of that, or – more likely – because of all those holiday indulgences, this salad dressing came to mind. From the New Gourmet Light cookbook, it’s packed with flavor though it contains very little oil. Good for winter salads, the dressing is warm and rich and suits wintery greens. Try it tossed with either a spinach salad loaded with mushrooms and thinly sliced red onion or a simple combination of endive, green onions and radishes or radish sprouts.

The fired up part? Not about spice. You literally set it on fire. Well, part of it, at least.

Fired Up Salad Dressing

In a saucepan, combine 6 ounces double-strength homemade beef stock (you can also use undiluted canned beef consommé), 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sugar or rapadura, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until cornstarch is dissolved, then bring to boil and simmer for 4 minutes.

While that mixture is on the stove, heat 2 Tablespoons of brandy or bourbon in a small pot with a long handle, and preferably a spout. When bubbles appear around the edges, use a long-handled lighter to ignite the alcohol. Let it burn until it goes out, about 2 minutes, tipping the pan to keep the flames going.

Add the reduced liquor to the hot dressing. Heat together another minute, then toss with salad greens.

Happy Friday!

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