March is prime maple-syrup making time. This past Sunday was the annual 2017 Maine Maple Syrup Sunday observed with open-sugarhouses, samples, demonstrations of making maple syrup, and sugar-bush tours. And even though Vermont’s middle name is Maple Syrup, still Maine produces quite a lot of syrup and maple sugar products and this year eighty-five! sugaring operations participated in the weekend event.
Most of us, appropriately enough, think pancakes or waffles when it comes to maple syrup. Kate dribbles it on cooked oatmeal. You can also substitute maple syrup for caramel under baked custard or flan. I’ve seen maple-flavored sausage; syrup added to cooked butternut squash or acorn squash baked with syrup in the hollow with butter. Delicious.
But it took a Maine-born Vermont-dweller to put me onto salad dressing with maple syrup. My island summer neighbor and good buddy Kay Wood, who hailed from Portland in her youth, told me about making “s”es over salad with maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Bottled salad dressings are awfully handy, to be sure. Open and pour. Still, I’d rather make my own, and we make ourselves very happy with a shake of rice vinegar and a dribble of olive oil. Still it is fun to have a change once in a while and this maple syrup wrinkle is handy to have for variety.
Besides, right about now, all of us need green salad and to keep it from being too boring, this is a good time to dig out all the terrific salad add-ins you can imagine. Here is my list:
Sliced blood (or any other) oranges
Grated carrot, or turnip, or beets
Shaved butternut squash
Cooked and/or pickled beets
Chopped up dilly beans
Thinly sliced red onions
Shaved fennel bulb
Steamed broccoli, cauliflower florets
Toasted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
Toasted walnuts or pecans
Cucumber fresh or pickled
- Olive oil
- Lemon Juice
- Maple Syrup
- Lay your salad greens and add-ins in a large shallow bowl or on a platter.
- Make an “s” shaped dribble of olive oil over the salad.
- Follow with an “s” shaped dribble of lemon juice.
- Follow that with an “s” shaped dribble of maple syrup.
- Toss the salad to distribute the ingredients and taste a sample. Add more of whatever you desire.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.