Photo by Stacey Ballis

These leftover bubbles beat the heck outta bottled

Stacey Ballis
June 26, 2018

Mimosas are the quintessential brunch tipple. It's just a bit of orange juice perking up some bubbly wine, not too sweet, not too bracing—a gentle awakening of the palate for a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning. But the problem with serving mimosas at brunch are that you often end up with leftovers. Either you’ve batched more than your guests consume, or you’ve set up the bubbles and juice for self-service and at the end of your brunch you have just enough juice and wine leftover that to dump would feel wasteful. While there is no shame in simply dispatching both down your gullet to wash down the last piece of bacon and that half a scone someone left on the platters, there is another alternative: mimosa vinaigrette.

This light dressing is shockingly versatile. Obviously, it is a happy anointing for the salads of your choice, it works especially well with heartier greens and a bit of fruit. One of my favorite combinations this time of year is escarole with fresh strawberries, Spanish peanuts, and a sprinkling of fried shallots. Crumbled goat cheese, feta or ricotta salata would not go amiss here. But it also can stand up to heartier more carb-based salads, so whether your pleasure is rice or quinoa or wheatberry, this is a terrific way to gloss your grains. It’s also a more sophisticated toss for a fruit salad, the acid will prevent browning and make your fruit taste sweeter.

The sweetness is underscored by a bit of honey and the acid enhanced with some champagne vinegar, of course. Instead of black pepper, which can be a bit acrid and too heavy a heat for such a light summery dressing, I’ve used grains of paradise, a spice well worth seeking out if you don’t have it already. It's lightly peppery with a subtler spice and back notes that are both citrusy and a little bit floral. I use it anywhere I would usually use black pepper and almost always end up preferring it.

However you choose to use this dressing, it’s a good excuse to make mimosas.

Mimosa Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

½ cup leftover mimosa, or ¼ cup orange juice and ¼ cup sparkling wine
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground grains of paradise, or ground black pepper
½ cup light oil like canola or sunflower

Directions

Put all the ingredients into a jar or airtight container and shake like the dickens until well mixed. This is not a fully emulsified dressing, so you’ll need to shake again right before serving. Stores up to a week in the refrigerator.

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