With the beginning of a new year, now is the ideal time to gain a fresh perspective on juice and how you can best utilize it when cooking at home.
Winter months call for cozy dishes like wine-braised short ribs, chicken-and-sage pot pie, and baked macaroni and cheese laced with cave-aged Gruyère. The key to enjoying these rich and satisfying meals is balance, right?
I find that hearty entrées pair best with bright baby greens tossed in a light, citrusy vinaigrette. I often use a mixture of greens to create color and texture, and then fancy them up with lots of delicate herbs from my little (ok, tiny) back-porch garden. There are so many fabulous citrus options in season in January, including blood oranges, Meyer lemons, kumquats, tangelos, grapefruits and tangerines. You can start with this basic vinaigrette recipe, and then change things up by using different types of citrus for the acid component. When browsing the farmer’s market or grocery store produce section, simply buy what looks best; I couldn’t pass up on the kumquats during my last shopping excursion, so kumquat vinaigrette it is.
First, a slight detour to learn more about these delightful little fruits, which resemble an orange but are the size and shape of a large olive. Unlike most citrus fruits, you can consume the entire kumquat — rind included. The rind is sweet, while the juice is sour and lemony. Kumquats are extremely fragrant and are delicious sliced in salads, as they have that perfect balance found in the always attractive contrast of sweet and sour. While they don’t yield a lot of juice, kumquats still work well for vinaigrette because you only need a small amount.
Next time you toss together a quick lunch or dinner salad use this vinaigrette recipe and feel free to substitute any citrus that you’ve got on hand; part of being fabulously kitchen savvy is using your resources – so make it work!
Yield: 3/4 cup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed kumquat juice (strained of seeds)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
- Using a fork or small whisk, mix together the juice, mustard and honey until well combined. Slowly add oil while continuing to mix.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill and toss with herbed greens right before serving.