MANILA, Philippines - I was recently at the Greenhills tiangge and picked up a bottle of unsweetened passion fruit and mangosteen extract (and durian preserves!).
I do this. I have no idea what I’ll make with them but I get really excited about a seemingly uncommon (read unknown to me) ingredient/product and just buy it. Luckily, I had a salad in mind for our 3-course Valentine’s Day dinner and I decided that this tart fruit extract would make a lovely dressing. It would make for a light and fresh start to the meal.
I also had some Herbs de Provence-infused kesong puti from Malasimbo in the fridge, a gift from the organizers of the Malasimbo Arts and Music Festival Miro and Olivia. It’s pretty genius, actually – the cheese gets infused with so much flavor and I would think the cheese stays fresher longer this way, too.
I’m SO infusing my kesong puti from now on. But I digress. Cheese and fruit. A resounding yes.
Let's start with the passion fruit dressing.
Indulge me and let’s call it a "passion-ette" because it is essentially a vinaigrette and it sounds like "passionate" and it’s for Valentine’s Day and… you get the picture.
For our passion-ette (hee hee), you’ll need:
Our passion-ette falls under what is called an "emulsion" in the foodie world. You know how oil and water don’t mix? An emulsion is a state where they play nice and come together.
To achieve this, you have to stimulate the two by whisking like a mad woman. Or you can simply put all the vinaigrette ingredients into a jar and shake.
The latter method is awesome — no mess, no dishes to wash, and instant vinaigrette container that can go directly into the fridge when you’re done.
I kept the passion-ette pretty simple because I really wanted the fruit flavors to sing. If you’d like to modify this recipe, just keep in mind that the magic ratio for vinaigrettes is 3 parts oil and one part acid.
I didn’t use vinegar because my fruit extract is unsweetened and very, very sour. I also wanted a little extra fruit flavor so I added a tad more. If you’d like to use another kind of fruit extract/fruit juice, how about some apple cider vinegar to go with it?
From here on, it’s all assembly! To compose the salad, I used:
Fresh! The tangy and fruity passion fruit dressing plays nicely against the richness and saltiness of the kesong puti. The roasted pili nuts add a nice crunch and buttery flavor.
I think I’ll omit the spinach next time, it feels kind of slimy in your mouth. Some lollo rosso instead would have added a nice punch of color. Nonetheless, this would make a simple and delicious intro to any meal. Did I mention that it’s simple?
Delicious doesn’t have to be complicated. Love is complicated enough! - Rappler.com
Sam Oh is a professional TV and events host, radio jock, and foodie wannabe. Catch her on radio at 99.5 PlayFM, Monday to Friday, 6am-10am in "The Playground" with Tim Yap and Nikko. She is also a food blogger at Sam Likes It Hot. If you have questions or recipe requests, email email@example.com with subject heading SAM LIKES IT HOT.