The other day while I was on hold with American Airlines, I spent the hours perusing recipes at Epicurious.com. I love the site, and its recipe search engine is very smart. You can search for a specific ingredient, for only dessert recipes, holiday dishes, and so forth.
I was just searching randomly, to pass the time, but then I came across this recipe: Red Cabbage Salad with Green Apple, Lingonberry Preserves, and Toasted Walnuts. The salad wasn’t too different than ones I’ve made; I’ve even blogged about a couple that are very similar, because I happen to love hearty, crunchy salads. It was the dressing, made with lingonberry preserves, that really caught my attention.
So that idea stayed in my head, and when I was at Whole Foods last week I found them! Swedish Lingonberries! I couldn’t wait to play with them and make a vinaigrette.
From the list of ingredients, lingonberries, sugar, and pectin, I expected the lingonberries to be very jam-like. In fact, they weren’t very sweet at all, and didn’t have a jam-like texture to them either. So I got creative, and here’s what I did.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons beet juice, from canned beets
4 tablespoons lingonberries
1/2 teaspoon sugar
To begin, I added all of the above ingredients to a blender jar, because that’s second nature to me. Then it dawned on me. With beautiful, whole lingonberries in the dressing, it would be much prettier with the ingredients left as is, instead of blending them all together.
So I simply shook the ingredients in the blender jar, and poured the vinaigrette into a serving bowl.
My salad was simple – Romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, carrots, grilled chicken, beets, and a few pine nuts.
I also decided to decorate the salad with a few extra lingonberries, so I rinsed some of the “jam” gently with warm water to separate the individual lingonberries.
Just now as I’m writing this post, I looked back at the recipe that inspired me, and I wish I’d included apple in my salad. With the lingonberries not being as sweet as I expected, a fruit would have been a delicious addition.
But in any case, this vinaigrette is wonderful. Only slightly sweet, and slightly tart at the same time.
note: If you don’t love beets, omit the beet juice. I added it, again, because I wanted to offset the sweetness from the berries, but it wasn’t necessary.