A million years ago, I was a chef in New York. Sometimes when I say that, I feel like it must be an exaggeration, it was so far away and long ago, was it real? Then I look at the scars on my hands from accidents in the kitchen ( blowing up a Viking range with a batch of roux for instance) and I think, “Oh, right, I did do that.”
Much of what I cook now, I learned first in a restaurant and then adapted for family life. This recipe stuck with me for years. It came out of my favorite job, working under Myra Kornfeld at Angelica Kitchen in the East Village. Myra is an absolute genius about food. Myra taught me to make this in a huge industrial blender, and since, I have messed with it and scaled it down to family-sized amounts. It makes a great Caesar Salad dressing but it also tastes awesome over greens, as a dipping sauce for anything, or as the dressing for a veggie bowl. This dressing has a fondness for crumbled nori, too, as a topping.
The ume plums from Ozuké are sweeter and less salty than the store-bought ume paste we used at the restaurant, so you can add more than this recipe calls for if you want more ume love in your dressing.
Ume Caesar Dressing
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Ozuké ume plums, pitted (make sure on this or you will kill your blender)
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. white miso
4 oz. silken tofu
1/3 cup grapeseed or other mellow oil
2/3 cu. olive oil
salt to taste – or add more ume
Put everything in the blender and blend till it’s dressing.
If you have a less vigorous blender, one that leaves chunks, you can blend the ume, garlic, mustard, and a ¼ cup of the oil first, till it’s a paste, then add everything else.