Balsamic Topper

Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

Balsamic vinegar reduced to a syrup-like consistency makes a good substitute for higher-fat salad oil-based dressings. The balsamic has a light, sweet flavor and bit of tang that provides a nice contrast when tossed with greens and served with slightly tart oranges, melons and jicama. Sprinkle a bit of chili powder over the fruit and serve with lime wedges for a quick, refreshing main dish salad.


1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons minced shallots

6 cups mixed greens


Freshly cracked black pepper

10 slices honeydew melon

10 slices jicama

12 orange segments

New Mexico chili powder

Lime wedges

Combine vinegar and shallots in small saucepan over low heat and reduce to consistency of syrup, about 6 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Toss greens with balsamic reduction to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon greens onto serving plates. Arrange melon, jicama and orange pieces on top of greens. Sprinkle with chili powder to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

2 servings. Each serving:

215 calories; 182 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 48 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 2.71 grams fiber.

* Vivace charger/dinner plates from Vietri at Bo Danica, La Jolla, and Tabletop International, Long Beach.

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