FFWD – Vanilla Vegetable Salad

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After a summer of salads comprised of whatever the garden’s got on offer, it seems like time to examine the shelves and stalls at the market a little more closely. There are still some remnants of the summer’s harvest on the shelves, but now there are also apples upon apples, winter squashes, root and cruciferous vegetables – things that speak of roasting or stewing, not the quick-dressed freshness of hot-weather meals.

Still, there’s one last summer salad for French Fridays and luckily the markets easily yielded the ingredients. Well, more or less. I haven’t seen a yellow zucchini for a few weeks now, so I opted for a small green one. And since the colour scheme was already in flux, I picked up some heirloom purple carrots in place of orange. For the greens, I chose an herby mix that I thought would counterbalance any dissonance I might experience from the vanilla in the dressing.

Yes, vanilla. There’s a lot of olive oil and lemon in this dressing, with only a touch of vanilla extract, but the flavour is transformed by it. I made the dressing by eye, since I was halving the recipe, so I may have been a bit conservative with the amount of vanilla I used, but the flavour was definitely there. My first taste was surprising – I didn’t even register whether I liked it or not. It was just something new to me. Then, I simply enjoyed it. Kevin told me that he liked it, but didn’t love it. (He’d eat it again, so I consider it a win for him.)

I’d love to try this dressing in a salad that’s already a mix of sweet and savoury, one with strawberries or figs, perhaps. There’s still a little time before cold-weather eating fully sets in.

Find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts here: Vanilla Vegetable Salad

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