Food & Wine (June 2011)
Want to know how to instantly make any recipe scream "summer"?
Just add beer.
That was the case with Beer-Baked White Beans. There's nothing landmark about the recipe, but something about cooking those beans in beer made them not only delicious, but also so absolutely appropriate for a summer barbecue.
It's the same story here, with a salad dressing made from our favorite ale.
Food & Wine has started doing a new feature in the front of their magazine called Trendspotting. They typically pick an ingredient (like Corn) or culinary trend (like Healthy Splurges) and devote a few pages to all the ways it's turning up in restaurants and food products across the country. It's a smart little feature, and one that we look forward to reading each month.
June's Trendspotting is all about American Craft Beers and it's fantastic. It looks at different regional styles of brews in the U.S., some top American destinations for great local beers, and even unusual products like beer candy.
And it features a few beer-based recipes, like this Orange-and-Ale Vinaigrette.
We were super eager to try it, but we kept our expectations in check. Wouldn't a salad dressing made with beer be kind of, well, weird?
The answer: It's not weird at all.
In fact? It's downright delicious.
The recipe suggests using an IPA (an India Pale Ale, if you're not familiar). Our favorite beer these days happens to be Dogfish Head's 60-Minute IPA. We just love its hoppy, refreshing bite. You'll find some in our fridge just about all the time.
The beer takes a standard vinaigrette and adds a certain indefinable complexity. In fact, if we were tasting this dressing blindfolded, we don't even think we'd be able to identify a "beer" taste. The ale just adds a "deepness" to the vinaigrette, a great complex mix of flavors and an almost umami quality.
Food & Wine suggests serving this dressing with a salad of chicory, radicchio, arugula, pecans and orange segments. We're sure that would be delicious, but we opted for plain old greens and thought it was a great salad!
So finally, a solution for those of you who were thinking your salad was just a little too healthy! Beer vinaigrette!
[Bottle image from dogfish.com]
- TOTAL TIME: 10 MIN
- SERVINGS: MAKES 1/2 CUP
- 3 ounces Indian Pale Ale
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, whisk the beer with the shallot, orange zest, honey and mustard. Gradually add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. SERVE WITH Chicory, radicchio, arugula, pecans and orange segments.