Red Onion Vinaigrette
finally, a salad dressing that doesn't separate once made
I find myself staring at the garden lately dreading the work it will take to make sense of it this year. I pretty much neglected it last summer, feeling uninspired to plant anything besides some fresh herbs. It turned out to be a great decision considering how dry a summer we had. We depend on well water, and come August, I was making sure showers were short and water was being used wisely. Needing to water a garden would’ve caused too much stress.
One thing I’d love to try my hand at for this summer is building above ground containers for some veggies. This has been a dream for a few years now but balancing my personal and work lives has become increasingly challenging, so it may continue to be a dream this year, too. If anyone reading has ever built wooden above ground containers, please share your experience and advice. Maybe the encouragement will give me the energy to tackle it.
There’s also lots of tree maintenance to do this year, and the cost that comes with it is astounding. Nature sped up one tree problem a few weeks ago during winter’s last gasp snow and sleet storm. One of the nectarine trees on my front lawn that was growing perilously close to the power lines running into the house, split down the middle, requiring immediate assistance. Thankfully my neighbor had a chainsaw, and was able to take it down for me before it caused any physical harm or property damage. The loss of shade and privacy will be deeply felt this summer.
I’m thinking it may also be time to take down a good swath of the mulberry tree in the backyard. I love the berries but they make a mess and bear more fruit than I can eat, plus the tree is old and was never meant to grow that big in the first place. Speaking of bears, the fruit is also beloved by them and all the other wildlife. Maybe less berries will mean less furry creature visits. I’m not 100% decided on the fate of the mulberry tree…we shall see.
Salads have been on repeat here for dinner. It’s all I’ve been craving. I love plating them in sections in shallow bowls. One favorite is chopped romaine with quickly blanched broccoli, a soft boiled egg, a few dollops of hummus, some za’atar and sunflower seeds, all topped off with a drizzle of a creamy tahini dressing.
Baby spinach is also getting its moment in the spotlight, tossed with whatever leftovers feel acceptable to add from the fridge. My favorite dressing to use on those salads is this red onion vinaigrette below. Unlike many of my other dressings, this one is a cooked recipe. That may sound odd for a salad dressing but sautéing the onion and briefly cooking the vinegar mellows the assertive nature of both, resulting in a dressing that has subtle layers of flavor.
I like to finish it off with a quick blend in my Ninja for a super smooth dressing which has the added benefit of creating a luxuriously thick texture–a little goes a long way, that also stays emulsified after it’s made, meaning it doesn’t separate like a more basic vinaigrette might.
May the week ahead hold some moments of peace for us all. Be well, and remember to be kind. –xo, j.
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