I’m not complaining about the heat, I’m not. I’d much rather it be hot than cold. I look at the temperature outside this way. You can cool off if you’re hot. Stay inside. Hang out in the library, the mall or a coffee shop. Take a quick dip in the pool or a 2-minute rinse in the shower. When we were growing up, my parents didn’t turn on the AC until August. Fort Lauderdale was like that. A few boutiques and shops on Las Olas Boulevard simply propped their doors open with pretty bricks covered in needlepoint. Jalousie windows were kept open to welcome ocean breezes because that’s all we had! Round the clock air conditioning in homes was considered wasteful and irresponsible. Mama used to laugh and say how people must have thought we were so religious since, in the summer months, we always arrived early for Mass and lingered after luxuriating in the cool, cool air. Mass and the library. We spent a good amount of time in both during the summer months. It wasn’t as hot then as it is now. In the mid-1960’s the temperature hovered around 82° to 84°. Right now it’s 93° outside and the “real-feel” is 104°. On the tail end of a walk even the dog is dragging. On these scorching days, one does not exactly feel compelled to fire up the stove or stand hunched over a bubbling, hot pot and that’s when an often forgotten salad dressing comes into play. This dressing is one of my favorites in that it’s great over not only salads but we love it over fish and even rice. Carrot and bell pepper sticks are divine dipped into the cold sauce. It’s a thin sauce although the little bits of carrot, onion and ginger clump beautifully over chilled shrimp and/or poached salmon. All the ingredients are thrown into a food processor or blender and in a minute or two, the dressing is done and ready to be chilled. The only time I buy iceberg lettuce is when I’m serving this dressing. No other lettuce holds up to the crunchy, freshness of iceberg, however, I rarely buy it as it’s a nutritional vacuum. But with this dressing? It’s fabulous. And when it’s so hot you can’t bear to eat, that’s saying something!
This recipe is best when all the vegetables are organic. Make certain to use canola oil or vegetable oil as olive oil will give off a funky flavor, so make certain the oil used is neutral. Already cooked shrimp from the seafood department of your grocery store is wonderful with this dressing as is poached salmon. For the salmon, I buy about 1/2 pound of fresh, wild caught, sockeye and have the fish monger skin it. I cut the fish in bite size squares and drop them into a simmering pot of water, lemon juice and halves and a pinch of salt. Almost immediately I strain them out, I’d say after 10-15 seconds and let them chill in the refrigerator until dinner. This dressing stays fresh for a good week in the refrigerator, maybe longer. I’m not certain as it never lasts in my house. Stay cool!
Japanese Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 4 rounded tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced celery
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, I use reduced sodium
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 teaspoon sugar
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor, blender or bullet.
- Process until dressing thickens and becomes grainy in texture.
- Taste for any seasoning adjustments, transfer to a glass or non-reactive container and refrigerate until chilled.