Wednesday, August 8, 2012

pistachio vinaigrette.

I have a soft spot for well-made salads.  Tender greens tossed with a bright vinaigrette along with some shavings of aged cheese and a handful of toasted nuts makes for the most delicious salad.  I could eat them almost daily with a side of crusty bread to sop up the juices.  The unfortunate thing is that I think I make a terrible salad.  The dressing never coats the lettuce properly or I tear the leaves into pieces that are too large which makes taking a bite very messy.  (I am slowly discovering that the easiest of cooking techniques elude me.)  This has led me to believe I should stick to ordering salads when dinning out.  There I can leave the salad assembly to the professionals.

While out for dinner the other evening the boy and I indulged in a bibb salad with a warm pistachio vinaigrette. The salad arrived at the table looking very simple but with one bite it revealed itself to be very complex in taste.  It was tart one second and spicy the next and the pieces of chopped pistachio found their way into the folds of the lettuce, which left you with a crunchy surprise.  I was smitten and set out to recreate it as soon as possible, which I did the next evening.  (I am impatient).  My version is a little less tart and a little spicier from a combination of pickled jalapenos and spicy honey, which works unbelievably well with pistachios.  I drizzled the vinaigrette on tender green beans since my salad mastery is still not there and it worked exceptionally well.  Consider this an all-purpose vinaigrette. 

Pistachio Vinaigrette
Recipe from NYMagazine

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons raw pistachios
3 – 4 pickled jalapeno slices, diced (depending on how spicy you like it!)
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Champagne or White Wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Mike’s Hot Honey or Regular Honey
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small pot, heat olive oil and pistachios together over a low flame until warm.  Place warm pistachios in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Immediately return pistachios to the olive oil and add your diced jalapenos, and then let sit for ten minutes.  Add lemon juice, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. 

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