- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2006

All honey is not created equal. Like fine wine and olive oil, honeys made

by independent beekeepers are location-specific with flavors determined by the local flora and fluctuations in weather.

These honeys are derived from the nectar of various flowers within a 5-mile radius of the hive. So if you experiment with different types of honey, you will notice a fascinating range of flavors and colors.

You can find various honeys at farmers markets or online at independent beekeepers’ Web sites. Taste a few and see which ones you like. The general rule is that the lighter the color of the honey, the milder the flavor. But that is where the generalizations end.

Here is a salad made with a basic honey-Dijon vinaigrette. The salad itself will bring you a bowl of refreshing crunch, with its crisp leaves of Romaine, deep green broccoli spears cooked al dente and slices of tart apple.

The flavor of the dressing will vary with the honey you choose, presenting an opportunity to improvise on the most subtle of levels. Serve this salad with a creamy, thick soup (such as potato leek or a chowder of some kind) and a glass of red wine for winter comfort. With a few ginger snaps for dessert, all will be well.

Romaine salad with broccoli, apples and honey-Dijon vinaigrette

The broccoli in this salad can be steamed and chilled up to a day ahead. Store it in a sealed plastic bag or an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The dressing can be made up to a week in advance, but slice the apple at the last minute so it will stay crisp. Use only the very freshest and most beautiful romaine lettuce. You will be rewarded with a delicious result.

3 to 4 cups medium-small broccoli spears (a little larger than bite-size)

1 medium head romaine lettuce

1 medium apple (I prefer Granny Smith or Pink Lady)

Honey-Dijon vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Steam broccoli until just tender and bright green. Refresh under cold running water and set aside in a strainer or colander over a bowl or sink to drain thoroughly.

Clean and thoroughly dry lettuce. (After spinning it several times, complete the drying process by patting it with paper towel.) If not using immediately, wrap the clean leaves in more paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.

Break lettuce into bite-size pieces into a large bowl. Thinly slice apple and sprinkle the slices, along with the broccoli, over lettuce in bowl.

Toss everything together with just enough honey-Dijon vinaigrette to lightly coat each morsel.

Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon crushed or minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon light-colored honey (see note)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Measure 2 tablespoons vinegar into a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add mustard, garlic, salt and honey.

Keep whisking as you drizzle in oil in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.

Taste to see if you would like it a little sharper. If so, add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. Just before using, shake well or stir from the bottom.

Makes about ½ cup vinaigrette.

Note: Try spraying the measuring spoon with a little nonstick spray before measuring the honey to keep it from sticking to the spoon.


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