Made From Scratch: Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing

While the weather outside is anything but tropical, I am so happy to find the grocery stores full of citrus fruits -- navel oranges, blood oranges, cara cara oranges, tangerines, tangelos, clementines, the list goes on and on.

On a recent grey day, I couldn't help but fill my shopping basket with piles of the brightly colored fruits. I immediately made plans for a citrus salad (coming later this week). But, as I was working on the salad ingredients, a chicken-or-the-egg question arose -- what came first, the salad or the dressing?

In this case, the salad dressing came first. I had a delicious poppy seed dressing not too long ago, and I  wondered if I could make my own version from scratch. As is the case with many food items, the answer was a resounding "yes!"

Since I had those aforementioned piles of citrus on hand, I added a little citrus flair to the dressing in the  form of blood orange zest and blood orange juice -- although any type of orange would do, I would lean more toward a sweeter-tasting orange given the amount of vinegar in the dressing.

Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing (printer-friendly version)
makes 2 cups (about 12 servings)

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon grated white onion
1/2 teaspoon blood orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh blood orange juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1. Add together the sugar and vinegar in a small sauce pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the salt and mustard. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.
2. Add the cooled mixture to the bowl of a food processor fit with a metal blade. Add in the onion, orange zest, and orange juice, and process for 20 seconds to incorporate.
3. With the food processor turned on, slowly pour the oil through the chute, and continue processing until the oil is fully incorporated. Add the poppy seeds and process for 10 seconds.
4. Pour the dressing into a container with an airtight lid. The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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