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Dressings for Spring Salads with Liz Nuttle

June 2, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Dressings for Spring Salads with Liz Nuttle

These days, if you can't go out and find the makings for a summer salad, you may not have a pulse.  This is high season for delicious locally grown produce to show up in the markets.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen would admit, the fixings are only half of the salad.  We need the dressing too.

So we asked Liz Nuttle, owner of EN Olivier, to swing by with some salad dressing advice.  EN Olivier is one of our favorite stores, with lots of great super premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and other gourmet items.    

We decided to challenge Liz with several salads that featured unusual ingredients.  We wanted to see what she would come up with given her amazing arsenal.

1.  A salad of lentils, roasted red peppers, sweet onions and goat cheese (earthy flavors).

                Basic French Vinaigrette
(We call it Deliciously Simple Vinaigrette. Works on anything, can tweak it this way or that with flavors, can also use as a marinade base ...add herbs, garlic etc.  Although good with basic EVOO and Balsamics, this one is fun to play with some of the infused oils.  I have been using Basil olive oil with Cranberry Pear Balsamic and basil Dijon mustard.  Lemon Oil/Blueberry Balsamic, Blood Orange Oil/Tangerine Balsamic etc.)

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
6Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Dijon Mustard

(Mustard helps the whole thing emulsify.  Can substitute the mustard with lemon juice, a jelly, wine vinegar or anything with a little bit of acid. Works with any salad or add a little garlic or soy for a marinade.)

2.  A salad of arugula, radishes, grilled baby squash and carrots (a little on the bland side).  

                 Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette  
(Works on a bland salad.  Lots of flavor. Creamy without using any mayonnaise.  This recipe was inspired by P. Allen Smith's “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden." I tweaked it a bit to use honey instead of sugar, EVOO instead of vegetable oil.  Can be cut in half very easily.  Stores for a week in the fridge. )

2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper, cracked
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup walnut oil
1 1/2 cups mild EVOO

1.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for one minute. Drain them and crack the eggs into a food processor or blender.

2.  Add all the ingredients for the dressing to the food processor or blender, except the oils, and process until smooth.

3.  With the motor still running, add both oils to the mixture in a slow steady stream, processing until all of the oil is emulsified and the consistency is similar to mayonnaise. 
Give it a little taste to see if you need to add anymore salt or pepper.

3.  A salad of bulgar, blueberries, pears and blue cheese (sweet fruit flavors).

                Shrub Dressing
(Similar to the French Vinaigrette in concept but sweeter.  Works very well with the fruit added and a strong cheese.)

2 Tbsp raspberry shrub
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper6 Tbsp EVOO

1.  Whisk together shrub, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.  Gradually add oil until emulsified and creamy.  

And here's a bonus recipe Liz gave us:

                Tropical Basil Vinaigrette
(This was a huge hit at one of our EN Olivier events.  We just used it over field greens but would certainly be yummy with some pineapple and mango added.)

First part:  Reconstituted shallots, for salad garnish
1 Tbsp Victoria Taylor Seasonings Shallots (this is what we have in the store but other people sell dried shallots)
3 Tbsp Champagne Wine Vinegar
pinch of salt

1. Toss shallots with the vinegar and a pinch of salt for 20 minutes
Separate vinegar from shallots and save shallots to top salad

Ssecond part:  the dressing
3 Tbsp Basil Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Tishbi Mango Chardonnay Wine Jelly (from store)
1 Tbsp Pineapple White Balsamic Vinegar
1.  In a small bowl whisk together the vinegars and jelly.  Gradually add oil, continually whisking until creamy.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.