This one is a killer. The flavor is brilliant and the presentation owns. Easy to make, extremely light, yet it packs a punch. Gentlemen, take note and file this one under “baby makin meals” – if you want a quick way to impress a date, this one if for you.
Let me share some thoughts on the inspiration behind this vinaigrette. First off, I can’t stand greasy salads. There is nothing worse than an oily salad. I intentionally go light on the oil and let the citrus do the talking. Second, this dressing really accents the flavors of other ingredients in the salad without overpowering- while perfect alone with just greens, I’d highly recommend getting creative and having some fun with what you add to the greens – blood oranges, chevre, apples, dried cranberries, basil leaves, etc are excellent choices with this vinaigrette. Finally, the dressing itself is versatile. I’ve used it as a marinade for chicken and prawns. I’ve reduced it and used it as a base for sauce, thickening it with coconut milk and serving it with fish (fantastic). This dressing tends to come off pretty sweet depending on the orange juice concentrate used, so I prefer more bitter greens to contrast the sweetness of the dressing. Spinach, arugula, mixed greens, and frisee are the winners for this one. Avoid romaine or iceberg- way too bland.
Parmesan frico? What are they? Answer: crispy cheese waifs fashioned into bowls to serve your salad in. While they appear fancy, don’t be intimidated. I was taught the recipe and frico making technique by one of my mentors, Diane Runo, owner of Tastefully Yours. She runs a business from her home, teaching cooking classes and catering high end multi-course dinner parties.
1 heaping tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsalmic
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1/3 c canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except salt, pepper and oil in a blender or immersion blender. Mix together well and then slowly add the oil while on high. Salt and pepper to taste.
Handful dried cranberries
1 apple- thinly sliced (I typically go with a gala or golden delicious)
2-3 cunces chevre
2 cups shredded parmesan (no need to buy expensive stuff for this – preshredded Trader Joe’s parmesan will work fine
1 T lemon zest
2 T julienned fresh basil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop 2 tablespoons of mixture and place on a silpat on a cookie sheet. Many of us aren’t fortunate enough to own a silpat. Not to worry – line a baking sheet with tin foil, then spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400 until the cheese is completely melted and starting to be golden in color. Remove from the oven and immediately flip a small water glass upside down and gently stretch and pull the cheese over the top glass (golden part of the cheese on the outside) forming a small bowl.b Work quickly as the cheese sets in a matter of minutes. Let them sit for 10 min.
Lightly toss the greens and frisee in some of the salad dressing. For the beginners, go easy on the dressing. Start by adding a few tablespoons of vinaigarette to the entire green mixture and see if it is enough. Nothing is worse than too much! You can always add more. Add chevre to top of mixture, then arrange 2 or 3 apple slices vertically. Top with a few dried cranberries and pecans.