No matter how cold it gets (let’s face it that’s not too bloody cold this winter!), my body still craves salads, and while they may look a little different from their warm weather cousins, winter salads can be just as interesting and satisfying. For me, they are driven by the ingredients that are freshest at this time of year, ingredients like kale greens and beets. Beans also play a large part in my diet this time of year. It’s just so easy to reach for a can of beans and transform it into something beautiful and fulfilling.
This dish was inspired by a product a friend of mine passed along. Sandra Spiro runs a wonderfully informative site for culinary professionals called FlashPepper. She now offers fun little Pepper Paks for chefs to play around with new and interesting ingredients. In a recent Pepper Pak I received a bottled red wine reduction by a company that is aptly named Reduction Ready. That led to playing around in the kitchen, which led to this deeply flavored Red Wine Reduction Vinaigrette. You can always do it with red wine reduction you make yourself but when there’s a good quality product out there, no harm in taking the shortcut! This full-bodied dressing proved the perfect match for my hearty winter salad, helping me make it through another dark day of winter, and bringing me one step closer to the light of spring…
Red Wine Reduction Vinaigrette
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine reduction
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into chunks
5 ounces baby spinach and baby kale greens
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1 can (151/2 ounces) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
heaping 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and broken into chunks
2 New York strip steaks (about 6 ounces each), seared medium rare and sliced
1/2 cup shredded pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- First make the dressing: In a screw-top jar, combine all ingredients and shake to combine. If you have the time, let the dressing sit for an hour or two to lightly pickle the shallots. If you don’t, no big deal.
- Assemble the salad: In a medium bowl, toss the beets with 1 teaspoon of the dressing. In a large serving bowl, toss the remaining ingredients with the remaining dressing. Top with the dressed beets. (I like to prepare the salad this way so that the beets don’t turn the whole thing red. But if you prefer, toss the whole lot together in one bowl.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Nutritional analysis based on 4 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste):
Calories 696, Fat 46g, Sodium 512 mg, Carbohydrate 35g, Fiber 10g, Sugar 5g, Protein 40g