Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whole-Citrus Vinaigrette

The flavors in this salad dressing recipe bring to my mind the words "sunshine" and "summer". Not exactly sure why. Citrus fruits are actually a winter crop, and their bright bursting flavors are the perfect foil for all those earthy winter foods that we tend to prefer during the cold months.

But what about spring and autumn? Citrus flavors are complimentary to the foods we eat at those times also. Indeed, citrus flavors seem to be at home in any season. Perhaps growing up in the southwest (longer growing season, virtually no winter) is what makes me think of citrus as season-less. Now that I live farther north, I am more aware of the seasonality of things (and the cost of buying things out of season). Thankfully, I'm a quick learner and don't require annual snowfall in order to gain this valuable awareness.

As you can imagine, I was delighted to learn that Meyer lemons bear fruit year round. I'd never even heard of a Meyer lemon before I moved here. A lemon was a lemon. A Eureka lemon to be exact. Well, my little dwarf Meyer lemon tree on the patio now has a dozen or so golf ball sized green fruits on it and is still pumping out flowers. The blossoms smell insanely sweet and my mind reels at the thought of thousands of full grown potted citrus trees inside the Orangerie at Versailles* circa 18th century France. It must've been intoxicating. Yep, it's good to be the king (at least until the peasants find out what you've been up too).

Just reading this very simple salad dressing recipe from the Napa Style website made my mouth water. Add some grilled chicken to either of these salads and call it dinner (whatever the season).
*Read more about the history of orangeries. Check out this flickr slideshow for views inside the Versailles Orangerie, then go to this web page for some great photos of the Parterre Sud (south garden in front of the Orangerie) where the trees live during the more temperate times of the year. Lucky trees. I do wonder how they managed before the forklift was invented though. Oh, and just in case you were curious... what the heck is a parterre?
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