Shrubs, which are basically lightly fermented fruit-infused vinegars, are usually thought of as a drink component but lend themselves beautifully to savory food as well. We love using them in simple vinaigrettes where we want the sweetness of fruits to come through. Quince pairs especially well with manchego, but feta or goat cheese would be nice in this salad as well.
For the Quince Shrub Vinaigrette
(makes about ¾ cup)
¼ cup Girl Meets Dirt Quince Shrub
¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup neutral oil (see note)
Combine vinegar, shallot, and salt in a bowl or jar, and stir or shake everything together to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add shrub, black pepper, and oil and whisk or shake everything until incorporated. Store any leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator and use within 5-7 days.
Note: To avoid overpowering the quince flavors in the shrub, we recommend using a very mild flavored oil for this vinaigrette. A mild olive oil or a neutral oil such as avocado would be our pick, but if you’ve only got a more peppery olive oil variety the result will still be delicious.
For the Salad & Assembly
5 ounces lettuce
½ cup fennel, very thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, very thinly sliced
⅓ cup shaved manchego or other salty hard cheese (optional)
¼ cup toasted and roughly chopped pistachios or walnuts
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl along with a pinch of salt. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss (ideally with clean hands). Serve immediately.