Summer’s almost over and the stores are starting to change over what’s in season. Yes, I am really looking forward to all things apple and pumpkin! But until then, I’m using up the last remnants of the days of heat and humidity (oh, yeah that was yesterday!). At my local warehouse club I ran across a good deal on some raspberries. So for a whopping $2.50 I picked up one of those flat, oversized packages marked down before they went ‘bad’. I need to use them quick or freeze them. That said, the things I used them for could easily be done all season with frozen berries. But I digress, one of my favorite things is a salad with a good raspberry vinaigrette. I picked up a Panera Bread Dressing at Target some time ago – I didn’t know they even sold their dressings. I was thrilled to try it. It was good, but still had seeds, which were still like tiny rocks stuck in my teeth! Not to mention, it was really expensive for what it was. After I finished off the bottle I kept it in the back of my mind to re-create. Now’s the perfect time!
I surfed the Net to see if anyone else had done the same and, naturally, there were lots of variations on a ‘raspberry vinaigrette’…almost all of them used a simple mix of raspberry jam and raspberry vinegar and some salt and pepper…”whisk and serve” they said. Uh, no thank you. I want a real salad dressing. Something that adds to the flavor of the veggies, not an overly sweet drizzle with a little pickle-after-bite. So, after some experimenting, I came up with something I really like and I hope you do too.
A Real Raspberry Dressing
Get those berries washed. We’ll only need about a cup, so find something to do with the rest. You can freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a freezer bag and add to wine glasses when the girls come over and be all Martha-like! Or, you can check the next blog and see what I did with the remaining berries. (Spoiler Alert: Donkey says, “Everybody loves parfait!”)
Get together the cast. When making a dressing I use the best quality ingredients I can get my hands on. Of course, that pricey bottle of balsamic needs to be under lock & key! (it’s soooo worth it though!) Anyway… Here’s what you’ll need:
1 Cup Fresh (or frozen/thawed) Raspberries
1/8 Cup Water
1 clove Garlic (chopped or pressed*)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard (or a spicy brown – which I like too)
2 Tbl Honey
1 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar (oh, yea – the good stuff)
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
*1/8 tsp Xantham Gum (optional)
Mash those berries thru a somewhat fine sieve. I didn’t use the tea strainer that you see in the photo (but it looked good). Although, if your strainer has bigger holes than the seeds then you may need to. Or use a cheesecloth.
You should have about 1/2 cup of raspberry puree to use. Now get out that mini-blender. Note: using a blender is what gives this dressing the ‘pink frothy’ look. If you want the darker red, smooth fancy bottle style, then just use a whisk. The mustard is a wonderful emulsifier and will hold it for you. But if you whisk, you’ll want to ‘press’ the garlic. Blenders are great, but as they emulsify they incorporate air into many things. In this case, those tiny bubbles never go away. But you can’t taste them either.
Get all the goodies into the blender and give it a whirl.
I opted to add in a tiny bit of xanthan gum to make sure the dressing would never separate.
There it is ! A real raspberry dressing. Get some greens, and carrots, add some walnuts and even a couple of whole berries and enjoy! You can go all out and top it with a sliced thin grilled chicken breast – just like the restaurant. Did I mention that this is good for you? Only a tablespoon of olive oil is all…in the whole bottle! Feel free to adjust it to your liking. It’s ok to add more honey, or maybe you don’t like the garlic bite. That’s ok – have fun with it – and enjoy, summer’s almost gone (here)!