Last week, a colleague emailed me for some help with a piece she was writing on maple syrup -- specifically, on how lots of chefs are using it in savory dishes. She may have seen a short blurb I wrote on Grade B maple syrup when it was all the rage a couple of years ago, or she may just have been asking for my input as a cook and an eater. But it got me thinking. Last year, I created a fall salad for a dinner party that went over particularly well; I used maple syrup in the vinaigrette, which I hadn't done before (if a dressing is too tart, I typically add a bit of honey or raw sugar). At the time, I made a mental note to start using maple syrup in my salad dressings on a regular basis. Alas, good intentions are not always enough: time and time again over the past year, it slipped my mind, and my vinaigrettes remained sadly syrup-free.
Until tonight. My friend's email provided just the right inspiration, and this evening as I was about to whip up a standard balsamic/Dijon/rice wine vinegar/olive oil concoction, my eyes landed on the bottle of maple syrup in the fridge, and I altered course. This version of a maple syrup vinaigrette is a bit simpler than the one I used for last year's salad, but in my mind no less appealing. The syrup rounds out the sharp edges, cutting the acid and giving the dressing a mellow richness. Let me know how you like it. For more ideas about how to use maple syrup in savory cooking, you can check out this nifty little piece.
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Maple Syrup and Dijon Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 cup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together the vinegars, maple syrup, Dijon and salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and shake again until the dressing is fully emulsified. Taste and adjust maple syrup, salt and pepper if necessary.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).