Friday, April 13, 2007

Vintner's Dressing - I'm ready for grape season

My wife loves Prevention Magazine and has had a subscription for a number of years. Back on 2004, they had the recipe for this dressing as part of another, their "Spinach-Endive Salad with Vintner's Dressing" (nice photo on their website). We make it in the summertime and usually just toss it with chopped romaine or other leafy lettuces. The smoked almonds and fresh grapes give a great variety of textures and flavors, especially when combined with the blue cheese crumbles (so says my wife - I can't stand blue cheese!). I thought that this would be way too sweet for my tastes, but I was quite wrong - it is a bit sweet, but the other ingredients help cut it nicely. We also have made this with Nakano's Balsamic Blend Seasoned Rice vinegar, as well as my favorite commercial balsamic, Monari Federzoni.

Here's Prevention's original recipe:
Spinach-Endive Salad with Vintner's Dressing
1 Tbsp rice wine or white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1½ c sm red seedless grapes
2 Belgian endives (12 oz), sliced crosswise
3 c baby spinach
¼ c crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
3 Tbsp chopped smoked almonds

Using a blender or hand blender, process the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and ¾ cup of the grapes until smooth. Set aside for dressing.
Toss endive, spinach, and remaining 3/4 cup grapes in salad bowl. When ready to serve, toss with dressing, and top with cheese (or not!) and almonds.

For more information about commercial balsamic vinegars and the difference between commercial and traditional balsamic vinegar, Cook's Illustrated has an excellent article here.
They also have a nice guide to tasting and buying commercial balsamic.


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