Monday, April 16, 2012

Onion Poppy Seed Dressing

   I took a college cooking class once. One day we learned all about emulsification [see emulsify]. It was awesome, we made our own mayonnaise. I also got a recipe for Poppy seed dressing from that class.  My mom always made poppy seed dressing and this one is a little tangier with the addition of onion. I love it. In the last year or so I was thinking about emulsification and how I should try to emulsify my dressings so I don't have to shake them so much.  It also gives them a nice creamy consistency.  I decided that my hand held beaters would be too cumbersome to do it on my own so I turned to my blender!  I love making my dressing now.  I bought some cheap condiment bottles from the grocery store to keep them in the fridge.

Onion Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 Cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp pureed onion (I mince super-fine with a knife)
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 Cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. Poppy seeds

   So first you need to dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar.  I suggest stirring it in a bowl for a few minutes before putting it in the blender or else the sugar gets plastered to the sides of the blender and you have to scrape it off.  Pour the vinegar mixture in the blender and add the onion and squeeze about a Tbsp of mustard into it.  Blend on lowest setting until well combined. Note: the onion needs to be very fine if you are using a squeeze bottle, like the one above, so it doesn't get stuck.  I've also used green onions and wild onions (my favorite). Just make sure they are finely minced. With all of the liquid in the blender it doesn't chew them up any smaller.

   Now for the emulsifying step.  If you do this perfectly your dressing will never separate and be very thick and creamy-like. Turn your blender on low and increase speed slowly to medium or high.  Remove the cap from the center of the blender lid.  Very slowly pour the oil into the blender. This is a little tricky because the oil likes to run down the side of the measuring cup.  So you may end up pouring from the bottom edge of the cup. Take care. As the first small amounts are blended in, you can pour a little faster.  It doesn't work if you introduce the oil into the vinegar all at once so slower is better.  It will begin to look very smooth and opaque.  Let it run for a half a minute or so and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula to be sure all of the oil and vinegar get well blended.

   Add the poppy seeds very last and blend on low for a few seconds at a time.  --The first time I did this I added the poppy seeds with the onion and they pulverized, it was okay but just not the same. My husband liked the consistency (more like fry-sauce) and we put it on everything stuff like chicken fingers and corn dogs.

  Then fill your bottle. I usually have about an extra 1/4 cup that I put in a small container and we use at the table that night.

I love Poppy Seed dressing especially on spinach salad with toasted almonds... I use it all the time though and rarely use ranch dressing.  Because I emulsify it, it separates a little bit here and there (a thin layer of oil on top every couple weeks or so.  I just give it a good shake before putting it on the table.  It's not like most homemade dressings where you shake them before each use.

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