I first tried this divine salad at The Farm in Byron Bay and loved it so much that while I was trying to decipher what was in the dressing, my wonderful friend Samana went to the kitchen to ask the chefs how to make it. Kindly, they took it as a huge compliment and proceeded to explain exactly how the dressing was made.
As soon as I got back to Melbourne, I gave it a try and I have been having caramelised onion dressing on everything I have been making since. It is so delicious and well worth the effort – a beautiful blend of sweet, tangy and umami and the best thing is, it works on everything!
A bowl of mixed green leaves
1/8 purple cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, spiralised or julienned
1 lebanese cucmber peeled into ribbons
1 small beetroot, peeled and finely sliced
4 radish, finely sliced
1 eggplant, cut into 8
Olive oil spray and salt
3/4 cup walnuts
2 tbspn olive oil
2-3 white onions, finely sliced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 tspns brown sugar
1 tspn Maldon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
150ml sherry vinegar
150ml balsamic vinegar
Extra quality olive oil
Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a baking tray and place the eggplant wedges on it. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden and soft.
For the dressing, place the olive oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, garlic (if using), sugar and salt and toss together until everything is coated. Reduce the heat and cook down the onion mixture until it is brown and completely caramelised (this takes time and little patience but it is worth it).
Once the onions are caramelised and cool, place in a blender with the vinegars and blend to a smooth paste. Store this mixture in a jar for up to 2 weeks.
To make the dressing for the salad take, 3 heaping tablespoons of the onion mixture and mix together with 1/2 cup good quality olive oil.
Place all the salad vegetables in a serving bowl. Top with eggplant and walnuts. Spoon over dressing and toss to combine.
This is a caramelised onion dressing which take a little time a patience but it well worth the effort. The onion and vinegar mixture can be store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks and to make a dressing any time, simply mix some of the onion with some olive oil and spoon over salads, steamed veggies, roast veggies or ever meats.