The easiest type of salad dressing to make is vinaigrette: shake or whisk together oil and vinegar, add a little salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself some salad dressing. As anyone who eats salad regularly knows, however, dressing your greens in the same basic vinaigrette day after day gets a little boring. The salad recipe submitted by Reni Westmoreland reminded us that drastically changing the flavor is as simple as changing the type of vinegar you use. If you’ve been reaching for the same bottle of balsamic, or rice wine or apple cider vinegar for your dressings, then Reni’s Raspberry Vinaigrette might just be the change you need.
In Reni’s salad, raw spinach leaves are coated in a lively vinaigrette made with olive oil, raspberry vinegar, mustard and garlic. Sweet and tart with a subtly fruity flavor, the raspberry vinaigrette tastes like summer bursting out of the bowl. Nuts go especially well with fruit vinaigrettes, and we liked Reni’s combination of sweet pecans and subtly bitter walnuts. Steak is the protein of choice for this salad, because as Reni says, “We ALWAYS have leftover steak.” Yet another simple but genius reminder from Reni: the best protein for a salad is often whatever is leftover from dinner the night before. So go ahead, throw chicken or salmon or any other leftover protein into this salad. The raspberry vinaigrette, although bold, is surprisingly versatile and will pair well with just about anything.
Most grocery stores and some farmers’ markets have a selection of fruit vinegars. They can be made from fruit wine that has been turned into vinegar or from vinegar that has been flavored with fruit. Soft fruits, such as berries, release the most flavor into vinegar and we also love the bright jewel-tone color of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry vinegars. If you’re feeling ambitious, fruit vinegar can be made at home by bringing vinegar to a gentle boil (we recommend white wine vinegar for its neutral color and flavor) and then poured over mashed berries. Experiment to find the flavor ratio you prefer, but 3 cups vinegar to 2 cups berries is a good place to start. The berries and vinegar should be kept in a sterilized jar with a lid and can generally be stored for up to a month in a cool, dark place. Before using, strain the vinegar with cheesecloth to remove the fruit and sediment.
Without any further ado, Reni’s recipe for Spinach Salad with Grilled Steak and Raspberry Vinaigrette. Simple, satisfying, and a flavorful change of pace.
Put spinach in a bowl and mix with nuts and onions. Mix together dressing ingredients.
Add dressing to taste.
Lay thinly sliced steak on top, either cold or warmed up. Enjoy!