Blackberry-ginger-sage vinaigrette

Sage in dressingI don’t know why I get so lazy about salad dressing. It’s an easy thing to make, really. Mix some oil, some acid, something to give it pizzazz, and call it a day. Salad dressing made at home inevitably tastes better than anything that has a shelf life of a year or two, and it’s such a cinch to whip up…I don’t know why more people don’t do it.

You know, more people. Like me. I probably make salad dressing a couple of times a year. Sure, I splash my greens with olive oil and balsamic on many occasions, but actually mixing up a batch of dressing? I don’t do that nearly enough.

I was inspired, this time, by a blackberry-sage mojito served at a bar in downtown Iowa City. I haven’t even tried the drink, but the flavor combination intrigued me, and I certainly have plenty of sage out back. I also have acquired some excellent blackberry-ginger balsamic vinegar, which really gives this dressing an intense and delicious flavor. If you don’t have a version of blackberry-ginger balsamic available at a local market, consider substituting regular balsamic and throwing some minced fresh ginger (no more than a teaspoon, please, or you’ll overpower the sage) into the mix. You’ll miss out on the blackberry, but I think there will be plenty to keep you occupied.

This is the dressing I served on my flower salad a couple of weeks ago. See? I promised I’d share the recipe eventually…

Salad dressingBlackberry-ginger-sage Vinaigrette
(Makes about 3/4 c.)

1/4 c. blackberry-ginger balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. sage leaves, sliced
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive dish. Whisk until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  2. Taste to adjust seasonings, and serve over salad. Leftover dressing keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

This is my entry for this week’s edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted this week by Pille from nami-nami. Please stop by later in the weekend for the full round-up of recipes!


11 Responses to “Blackberry-ginger-sage vinaigrette”

  1. 1 Katiez October 27, 2007 at 9:43 am

    It’s a matter of habit…and neccesity. Not having miles of commercial salad dressings to choose from (we have 2, dressings, not aisles – both awful) I started making my own, fresh for every salad. But I’ve never thought to put sage in, and I love sage!
    With the hint of blackberry and ginger – sounds wonderful!
    Love the photo!

  2. 2 Kalyn October 27, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Well don’t feel too guilty! I rarely make dressing from scratch for myself, although I nearly always do for guests. What’s that about? Love the sound of this, and I’m on a sage kick myself.

  3. 3 cole October 27, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Yum. This sounds so good. It would be a good marinade also, yes? For a firm meaty fish like Tilapi or Salmon.

    ANYWAY…I want to add to your dressing idea that if you get a microplaner, available in any decent cooking store, GET one. It is the best for garlic and is so terrific for dressings. Also the smaller you chop or the finer the chop you do the more of the favor you get. It becomes more intense and peppery. So if you only have one clove and your recipe calls for 2 you can get good flavor by using the microplaner.

    I like to keep an old french mustard jar to shake up my dressing in. It keeps for a while so you can make extra. If you make just regular vinegrette with balsamic and such you can toss into any pasta sauce your left over dressing for some zip. Or on pizza instead of sauce.

    Also if you add a tad of mustard it will hold together better.

    I have some wilty blackberries in my fridge now…hmmm.


  4. 4 inadvertentgardener October 28, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Katiez, yes…I think a little necessity would force me into it, as well.

    Kalyn, if you’re on a sage kick, you’d definitely like this!

    Cole, I have a microplaner — haven’t tried using it for dressing, but duh…great idea. And wow — using vinaigrette on pizza instead of sauce — that sounds awesome!

  5. 5 Pille October 28, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Thanks, Genie! Sage is one of the herbs that really thrives on my windowsill, and I had never thought of using it in a salad dressing!

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener October 28, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Pille, I definitely recommend it — it’s a great way to use some of that sage!

  7. 7 wayne October 29, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I am with you on this one… I do not make dressings except simple (exactly as you describe). frost stopped by last night, not a killer, but wounded the garden. maybe more tonight. as I took garbage out I noticed my coleus hadn’t looked better all year. keep your eyes open and keep the recipes coming.

  8. 8 VegeYum October 30, 2007 at 3:53 am

    I have a strawberry vinegar which is quite lovely in summer salad dressings. Iam going to look for a blackberry – ginger one – is it common?

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener October 30, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Wayne, I will do both: Eyes open, recipes coming! :-)

    VegeYum, I have to admit I’ve only seen the blackberry-ginger vinegar once, but I haven’t looked for it many places — I have plenty of stash of my own at the moment! I’d check specialty food stores — they’re more likely to carry it. I bought mine at Wallace Winery in West Branch, Iowa — they carry it in their tasting room.

  10. 10 Christine October 30, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    As one who makes her own salad dressing for every salad, this is one for my recipe file. I have both sage and blackberries growing in my garden and will get started on infusing the balsamic vinegar. Thanks for this inspiration!

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener October 30, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Christine, infusing your own vinegar sounds like an incredible idea! Can’t get much more local…

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