Monthly Archives: September 2017
It’s as easy as it gets, and even better to put on a salad.
It’s the vinaigrette salad dressing that changed the salad-eating habits of Miami Beach folk forever. Before this small beauty came along, salad dressing meant Wishbone or Milano French dressing. Out in Vegas they were creating Caesar dressing, but in South Florida this was the magic, and it was oh, so simple. You can keep the memory alive with this simple dressing, just the way we made it.
6 ounces first cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave sugar (granulated will do in a pinch)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed but not chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Make the dressing 24 hours in advance.
Place all the ingredients except the olive oil and the garlic clove in a stainless steel or other non-reactive bowl and mix well. Pour into a glass jar, add the garlic clove, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Immediately before serving, remove the garlic clove, pour the dressing back into the sam bowl, beat rapidly with a wire whisk, and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl to incorporate the ingredients. Add the garlic clove back into the dressing, pour into a serving vessel like a gravy boat, and serve immediately.
The dressing can be made ahead with the olive oil incorporated, but you will need to bring it to room temperature and whip rapidly before serving.
So yesterday our next-door neighbor presented us with a lovely surprise: fresh-picked figs from her tree. What to do…what to do? So I perused the Internet to see what could be done with beautiful, overripe figs. and you know what? Turns out there are too many recipes to choose from. So I took the dilemma to the family, to ask what they might like to see done with fresh figs, and here’s what I came up with: fig jam.
I haven’t had much to do with figs in forty years, when I had my own fig tree growing beside our house. Of course, there are always Fig Newtons, but why try to emulate them, since it’s almost impossible to improve on the ones I can get at the grocery store.
But jam? What an intriguing idea. I like jam. We enjoy the occasional English muffin with a fresh-made jam and a cup of tea–so very English, you know.
So here’s what I’m doing:
1 whole lemon
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons espresso balsamic vinegar
4 sprigs freshly cut thyme
1 pound very ripe figs
With a vegetable peeler, carefully take the outer layer of lemon peel off the lemon with as little of the white pith as possible. Toss the lemon into a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot. Add the remaining ingredients except the figs to the pot and mix well, until the sugar dissolves. Stem the figs and cut them into quarters, and add them to the pot, mixing again.
Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally; reduce the heat to low to medium-low, so that it continues to simmer gently. Stir occasionally, to prevent the jam from burning for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how thick you want the final product. Remove the lemon peel and the thyme sprigs from the pot and discard. Mash the solids or whizz them with an immersion blender until the pieces are small.
Pour the jam into sterilized half-pint jars—you should get about two—and allow them to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about a month. Alternatively, it can be canned and processed in a water bath for 10 minutes. Use normal water-bath canning procedures to do so, leaving ¼ inch of head space before setting the lids. This recipe can be doubled or tripled, but no more.