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    COOKING | MAGAZINE

    Recipes: Vinaigrettes and dressings to dress up meals

    Turn simple salads or grilled veggies into appealing meals with these easy vinaigrettes and dressings.

    Make your vegetables stand out with homemade, fruity dressings. Here, Grilled Zucchini and Bell Peppers With Lemon, Almond, and Aleppo Pepper Dressing.
    Make your vegetables stand out with homemade, fruity dressings. Here, Grilled Zucchini and Bell Peppers With Lemon, Almond, and Aleppo Pepper Dressing.PHOTO BY ANTHONY TIEULI; FOOD STYLING BY SHEILA JARNES/ENNIS INC.

    A flavorful, interesting vinaigrette or dressing in the fridge can be key to quick, light — often meatless — summer meals. Toss it into a salad or drizzle it over some vegetables, grilled or otherwise, and they’re transformed into a dish that feels finished and complete.

    Here I’ve paired fruit-based dressings from my book Best Dressed, written with Dawn Yanagihara, with specific vegetable partners. Each dressing works well on a range of ingredients, though, so I’ve included some additional pairing suggestions. With a glance into your fridge, you’re sure to come up with your own ideas, too.

    Grilled Zucchini and Bell Peppers With Lemon, Almond, and Aleppo Pepper Dressing

    Makes about 6 cups

    If you overprocess the dressing, it can take on a thick, hummus-like consistency; thin it out by whisking in extra water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have the desired texture.

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    This dressing is also lovely on grilled or braised leeks, cooked cauliflower and winter squash, grilled eggplant, and sliced tomatoes.

    1tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
    2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Salt and ground black pepper
    2teaspoons honey
    ½teaspoon pressed or grated garlic (about 1 medium clove)
    ½teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes, or more, to taste
    1/3cup extra virgin olive oil
    2pounds zucchini (8 to 10 small), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, brushed lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled lightly with salt and ground black pepper, grilled until just tender and grill-marked, then cooled, with halves cut into ½-inch half-moons (about 6 cups)
    1pound (about 2 medium-large) red or orange bell peppers or a combination, grilled, charred skin and cores and seeds removed, flesh cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)
    2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

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    In a mini chopper or the beaker of an immersion blender, stir the almonds, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste and set aside until the almonds begin to soften slightly, about 15 minutes.

    Add the honey, garlic, Aleppo pepper flakes, and olive oil and process until the almonds are broken down and the dressing is smooth and about the consistency of drinkable yogurt (you should have about ½ cup). Set aside for the flavors to meld, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper and the consistency with additional water, if necessary. Stir briskly to recombine before using.

    In a medium bowl, mix the grilled zucchini and peppers, a pinch of salt, and ground black pepper to taste. Add 3 tablespoons of the dressing and stir to coat the vegetables. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper, and another 1 or 2 tablespoons of dressing, if necessary (remaining dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days). Add most of the parsley and stir to mix. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve at once.

    Baked Sweet Potatoes With Mango-Red Curry Dressing and Coconut

    Serves 2

    Here I prefer flaked coconut because the flakes are larger than shredded coconut.

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    This dressing is also terrific on grilled cabbage wedges, steamed broccoli, steamed or sauteed snow peas, or grilled salmon fillets or duck breasts.

    2teaspoons red curry paste
    tablespoons vegetable oil
    ½cup ¾-inch chunks fresh or thawed frozen mango
    2tablespoons fresh lime juice,
    or more, to taste
    2teaspoons fish sauce (nam
    pla or nuoc mam)
    teaspoons sugar, or more,
    to taste
    Salt and pepper
    2baked sweet potatoes, hot
    ½cup unsweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
    ½cup thinly sliced scallions (about 3 large)

    In a small nonstick skillet, stir the curry paste and 1½ teaspoons oil to combine. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly darker, about 2 to 3 minutes after it begins to sizzle. Scrape the mixture into a mini chopper or the beaker of an immersion blender and set aside to cool briefly.

    Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, mango, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste and process until the dressing is smooth and thick (you should have about ½ cup). Set aside for the flavors to meld, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with additional lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper, whisking to combine, if necessary.

    Split the sweet potatoes, squeeze them open, and sprinkle the interiors with salt and pepper to taste. Top the potatoes with about 2 tablespoons each of the dressing, coconut, and scallions, and mash them into the flesh. Add another 2 tablespoons coconut and scallions to each sweet potato, top each with another tablespoon of dressing, or more if desired, and serve at once (remaining dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days).

    Tip: Cutting a Fresh Mango

    ANTHONY TIEULI
    1) Peel the mango with a vegetable peeler (the Y-shaped kind makes quick work of this). 2) Cut a slice from the bottom of the mango to help stabilize it on the cutting board. 3) Slice off the “cheeks” by cutting down along the broad sides of the pit. From there, it’s easy to cut the cheeks into chunks. 4) Cut any remaining flesh off the pit (which is slippery, so take care with this).

    Fennel and Endive With Rosemary-Citrus Vinaigrette

    Makes about 5 cups

    This dish is best served right after mixing, because it doesn’t keep well.

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    This vinaigrette is also good on a simple green salad or drizzled over cooked beets, cooked summer squash, roasted or grilled bell peppers, or goat cheese.

    1tablespoon plain rice vinegar
    2teaspoons honey
    teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
    teaspoons finely grated orange zest
    1teaspoon finely grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
    1/3cup extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper
    2tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 small)
    1medium fennel bulb (about 1 pound), trimmed, cored, and quartered lengthwise, with quarters very thinly sliced crosswise (about a scant 3 cups sliced), and about 2 tablespoons chopped feathery fronds reserved for garnish
    2medium Belgian endives, halved and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

    In a mini chopper or the beaker for an immersion blender, process the vinegar, honey, rosemary, orange zest, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste until the rosemary is broken down and fragrant and the vinaigrette is smooth and emulsified (you should have about ½ cup). Add the shallot, stir to combine, and set aside for the flavors to meld, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

    In a medium bowl, stir the fennel and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette (whisk it briskly to recombine if necessary). Add the endive, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and toss to distribute. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and another 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, if desired (remaining vinaigrette can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days). Add most of the chopped fennel fronds and stir to mix. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped fennel fronds and serve at once.

    Adam Ried appears regularly on America’s Test Kitchen. Send comments to cooking@globe.com.