[Recipe: Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette]
I count myself a fan of nice. Nice neighbors who help you load up the half eucalyptus tree that broke off in the monsoon storm. Nice shoppers who let you in front of them when you only have one item (I thought this kind of thing was an urban legend, but it really happened!). Nice big sisters who share their truckload of candy from the orthodontist’s office with their little sisters*.
So allow me to share a couple of particularly nice things with you today.
A nice salad always makes a fine beginning, so salad it is. This salad is nice on a couple of counts. First, because we became acquainted in a fantastic little restaurant in Vermont (it may have been in Middlebury, to be exact, but we were getting around, so I can’t say for sure), where people are unequivocally nice.
And it’s nice not just for its provenance, but for the all-important ingredients. The menu described the Wonder Salad as a combination of crunchy green leaf, avocado chunks, orange segments and walnuts (candied or not; take your pick). Compounding the niceness was the dressing: a maple-balsamic vinaigrette.
And now we’re to the unfortunate part of the story. When I tried to order the salad, I was told they were out, and was there something else I’d like instead? (Of course our server was nothing but gracious — you know, nice.)
Mental notes duly made, I prepared the salad when I got home. The dressing is such a hit around here I make it often, dripping it onto this or that salad or slathering it on salmon or dribbling it over scallops.
The other nice thing I wanted to share -– only in order, certainly not in rank –- is a nice gesture. Sarah at Life is Still Sweet passed on the Beautiful Site Award to me! Little me! That is the epitome of nice, of magnanimity, and now I get to pass the honor along. Thanks, Sarah!
I’d like to send it on to a site I only recently discovered: Nourish Me. Lucy’s over there working some marvelous shots – a recent photo of parsley soup had me wanting to dive in, head first. I’ve been in heaven sifting through her archives, poring over her vignettes.
I typically like a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to oil. Use more olive oil if your tastes prefer. My favorite method of dressing salad right now is to mix the dressing in a big bowl, place the greens on top, then toss with tongs to coat the greens. After the greens are coated, I add the other ingredients and toss again.
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
* Back story: Emmie just got her braces off today! Evidently, the orthodontist supplies the happy patient with a sizeable sackof previously verboten goodies as a celebratory gesture. As in: “Congratulations on taking such good care of your braces! Now go shred your newly exposed enamel with caramel and corn syrup!” How nice is that?