Want a fancy pants salad?
Ok. So, this is not super fancy at all…but caramelized onion dressing is about as fancy as I get.
When Mark and I were on a ‘kid free vacation’ while pregnant with Valerie, we ate out every meal. We were at a conference, and just did not have the resources to make our own foods.
It was expensive…but also kind of cool. There are way more options in downtown Kansas City than within 45 minutes of here. I got to try food trucks for the first time and a lot of little niche places. I also wanted to eat at Chipotle (because I really like Chipotle), but as it was around the block from the conference it was far too busy during any normal eating hours.
One time we went to a cool little salad and sandwich place. I can’t remember the name, but it was semi-build your own. I got a steak sandwich and a salad. I like steak, but the salad was better. And no, that was not an insult to the steak. The salad was just really amazing.
This does not come anywhere close. But, the caramelized onion dressing is totally inspired by the dressing I had that day. A bit more work then I would usually invest in a salad dressing, but oh. so. good.
Now a “fancy” dressing needs a “fancy” base. Such as that wild rice I got about a year ago and never cooked, and some beautiful farmer’s market fresh arugula. I was actually mostly out of vegetables or there would have been a lot more in it. But, I did have some grape tomatoes so they went in as well. I am glad it ended up being that simple because the trio worked really well. Fresh leaves, bursty tomatoes, and the unique texture of wild rice. If you wanted this as a meal salad I bet you could toss in some chicken, chickpeas, or other protein.
- 3-4 cups tightly packed arugula leaves, washed and dried
- 1½ cups of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup cooked wild rice cooked with ¼ teaspoon salt (1/2 cup dry)*
- 1 Recipe caramelized onion and balsamic dressing (below)
- A pinch of course Celtic sea salt (optional, but delicious)
- *I just followed the instructions on the bag for steamed rice.
- Toss everything to combine
- 1 tablespoon or so of heat stable oil
- 1 yellow onion, frenched
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar (I just used the cheap, not quite balsamic, kind)
- 1-2" piece of rosemary sprig
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 rounded teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon sugar or sucanat (or 2 teaspoons honey)
- ¼-1/3 olive oil
- Heat the oil over medium low heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, frequently stirring, until lightly caramelized ( appr. 10 min). Add the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and crushed garlic clove. Turn the heat up to high. Boil until the balsamic vinegar is reduced to a syrup (see 3rd photo above). Stir in the sweetener and mustard. Cook for a minute or two to lower the heat of the mustard and dissolve the sugar or sucanat.
- Put the onion mixture into a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. It will be quite thick, but will thin some as it cools.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, while lightly warm, and toss.