Salads are not just some iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and a sliced radish covered with thick dressing anymore. There is a whole new world out there with fruits, vegetables, nuts and even proteins like chicken or shrimp that can top the old classic mixed greens.
In her book, “Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet” ($24.99, Gibbs Smith), author Jamie Schler writes about bright and zesty salad dressing using oranges as the foundation. Her love of the orange is reflected in three lively vinaigrettes that are perfect for a happy pick-me-up on gray days.
You’ll find each dressing recipe is followed by delectable serving suggestions. Her first vinaigrette uses rosemary and thyme to heighten the orange-flavored dressing. In her second recipe she suggests a blend of orange juice along with Dijon-style mustard and a fruit vinegar that pairs well with bitter greens and roasted beets. Her last vinaigrette relies on the blood orange, a delightfully complex bitter-sweet orange flavor, along with a surprise ingredient: hummus. The hummus acts as a thickener as well as a complementary flavor to the blood orange taste. It is also good on roasted or grilled eggplant.
Have fun experimenting with these Seriously Simple vinaigrettes with different greens, fruits and vegetables. Hopefully it will brighten up the gray, cloudy skies this season.
Rosemary Orange Vinaigrette
Makes 1/2 to 3/4 cup (125 mL to 185 mL)
1/4 cup (65 mL) orange juice
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme, leaves and flowers only, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup (65 mL to 125 mL) olive oil
1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the oil. Continue whisking as you gradually pour 1/4 cup of oil into the vinaigrette; whisk in up to 1/4 cup more oil as desired. Taste and add more seasoning as desired.
This is perfect over a salad of thinly slice pears, Medjool dates and red onion on a bed of Cara Cara, navelina or blood oranges. Or try it on a grilled romaine, radicchio, or baby gems and chicken salad with sweet heirloom or cherry tomatoes, bitter arugula, and salty feta or blue cheese.
Orange Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes about 3/4 cup (185 mL)
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons red wine or raspberry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (65 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup (65 mL to 125 mL) good-quality mild extra virgin olive oil
1. Whisk the mustard, vinegar and a generous grinding of pepper together until blended and smooth. Whisk in the orange juice and then 1/4 cup of oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; add up to 1/4 cup more oil as desired.
This is ideal tossed with lamb’s lettuce and cubes of roasted beets, then topped with orange slices and goat cheese or feta. It is also wonderful when tossed into a salad of mixed greens, roasted and shredded chicken, shaved Brussels sprouts, grapes and chunks of orange.
Blood Orange Hummus Vinaigrette
Makes a scant 2/3 cup (150 mL)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 small blood orange, zested, optional
3 tablespoons hummus
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Measure all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well blended and smooth.
The addition of hummus, a thick Middle Eastern dip of pureed chickpeas, tahini sesame seed paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, to this delicious vinaigrette not only adds body and creaminess, but also a nuttiness that pairs wonderfully with orange. Toss it into salads, drizzle it on grilled fresh radicchio, treviso, romaine hearts or baby gems and orange wedges; serve it with grilled shrimp, or use it for chicken salad. Use homemade hummus or any good-quality store-bought hummus.