Cumin's warm herbal notes blend beautifully with the tang of fresh limes. Salads or simply-prepared vegetables dressed in this cumin-lime vinaigrette would be a great complement to Mexican, South American, or Indian cuisine. If you've wondered how to pair a salad with these ethnic cuisines, this dressing is an easy solution.
This recipe also makes an excellent marinade for meat, poultry or fish. If you are going to be grilling meat, this marinade will add the right touch of flavor while retaining moisture in the meat.
The recipe is simple enough that you can assemble all of the ingredients easily from your grocery store without having to shop in the specialty aisle or go to an international market. The only equipment you need is a whisk or salad shaker.
- 1/4 cup lime (freshly squeezed juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (sea, to taste)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Adjust the salt to taste.
Using as a Salad Dressing or on Steamed Vegetables
To use the cumin-lime dressing on a salad, toss it with the salad greens immediately before serving. To use it on steamed vegetables, drizzle it over the top.
You may want to use a higher smoke point oil such as peanut, canola, safflower, or soy rather than olive oil if you will be grilling the meat or fish. You may also toss dressing with vegetables before roasting or grilling them.
Storage for the Salad Dressing
Dressing may be made up to two days ahead of use and stored in the refrigerator; bring the vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk again before serving.
Using Fresh Ground Cumin for Extra Flavor
Ground cumin bought in the spice aisle will have far less flavor, and less-complex flavor, than you will get if you start with whole cumin seeds and roast and grind them fresh. You can find whole cumin seed in the spice aisle or at an international grocery.
To roast the seeds, heat a skillet on medium heat and add a layer of cumin seed. No oil or water is necessary. Roast slowly, watching for when they turn brown. Don't let them blacken. Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. You may want to use less as the flavor will be more intense.