I have a confession to make. I can't make a salad dressing to save my life. Sure, I can mix a little balsamic vinegar with olive oil and add some spices, but a true blue salad dressing maker I am not. I have never been able to just "whip something up" for my greens. I always need a recipe. It is strange really, because I consider myself to be a decent cook when it comes to opening the refrigerator and formulating a dinner plan from what I see.
I have always been jealous of friends who can make a dressing without even stopping to pause and think. I am that person who will spontaneously cook a meal for friends without breaking a sweat or cracking open a cookbook and then just as the meal is ready will sheepishly ask one of my guest "Ummm...can you make the salad dressing?"
My friends and family have been putting up with this for years. They deserve a medal for all the work they have put into fixing awful dressings I have made. I am trying to learn. I am trying to get better. I really like salad of all varieties, after all. But alas, the only way to not ruin a dressing is for me to follow a recipe. A recipe like this one, in fact.
This is another recipe from Veganomicon. I figure what better way to learn the art of salad dressing than from a vegan. I am totally stereo-typing here, but I figure they must eat a lot of salad.
Jicama And Avocado Salad with a Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette
serves 6-8 (but is easy to reduce for less people)
adapted from Veganomicon
This salad has a really tropical feel to it. It is cool, crisp and refreshing. A great start to or break from the heavier foods we tend to eat during the winter. Plus, citrus season is upon us and you all know how much I love citrus.
This recipe calls for watercress instead of field greens. Someone once told me some gross things about watercress and I haven't been able to eat them since. I won't share them here...I don't want to ruin watercress for you too.
For the salad:
1 large jicama, peeled and shredded (at least 6 c.)
enough field greens for four servings
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. roasted (salted or unsalted - your choice) peanut
For the dressing:
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. hot chile oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
Squeeze the orange juice right into a measuring cup (trying to save you extra dishes here) then add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing and mix vigorously.. Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so the sugar can dissolve.
While the dressing rests, prepare the vegetables for the salad. Place the field greens into four bowls or salad plates for serving. Cut the avocado and red onion and set aside. Peel and shred the jicama into a larger bowl.
Once the dressing is ready, give it a quick stir and then pour all but 1/3 c. of the dressing onto the jicama, then divide the remaining 1/3 c. between the four salad plates.
Place a pile of jicama (about a cup) over the field greens for each serving. Then add the red onions, avocado, and peanuts.
Side note: I forgot the peanuts. So you will just have to imagine them in the picture above. I think the peanuts add a lot to the flavor.