At this time of year, there are often two things happening in my kitchen. First, I am eating a lot of salads made from crunchy winter vegetables, because, well–even here in temperate Seattle–I know that tender lettuce is out of season in the dead of winter. And I am starting to crave a salad that speaks of springtime, full of lettuce’s delicate crunch. The second thing that is often happening in my kitchen right about now is that a pear is lingering in the fruit bowl that is five minutes too ripe to be considered absolutely perfect. When these two events coincide–which, as I said, they often do at this time of year–I take it as an omen and make this salad dressing.
This Pear Vinaigrette is creamy, sweet, and lower in fat than more traditional vinaigrette dressings. Tonight I just tossed it with lettuce for a very simple green salad, but you can also use it to doll up a fancier salad by including nuts, fresh or dried fruits, cheeses, you name it. In your blender, just whizz a chopped super-ripe pear, 1/3 c. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. apple juice (or water), 1 tsp. dijon, 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, a few grinds of pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt. A very-ripe pear makes this dressing plenty sweet for me, but you can also sweeten it to taste with maple syrup. (I haven’t tried this, but the gorgeous vegan blog v:gourmet recommends it. Although I only met her–I mean her website–moments ago, I trust the writer implicitly because we have almost the exact same favorite cookbooks.)
Speaking of cookbooks, this recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant’s Cooking for Health. Of the many recipes I tried in that book when I first got it, I think this is the only one that stuck in my regular rotation. It probably says a lot about my expansive cookbook collection when I keep a cookbook for just one recipe. Although now that I’ve jotted the recipe down here, maybe I will move it along to make room for a new cookbook.
If you were making room on your shelf for just one great new recipe collection, which would it be?