One of my greatest joys is discovering new, local products on-Island, especially given our small community. Just when I think I know about everything going on, I stumble upon something else.
These discoveries make it easy to create new content and help inform the public of another local gem. I’m appreciative of these artisan makers and shakers who are constantly creating more and more products to taste and explore. So when I first saw a bottle of salad dressing from the Martha’s Vineyard Dressing Co. at Morning Glory Farm, I was intrigued. I picked one up and brought it home with me. Hours later, I had fallen in love with the dressing and contacted the company, led by now owner Christopher Keohane, who shared the origin of the business:
“Our Toasted Sesame Dressing got started in 1991 in my mother’s kitchen off Middle Road in Chilmark. My sister Ann just had a knack for cooking and preparing fresh, healthy meals. She created the dressing for family gatherings, and it became a favorite for all of us. She began selling it, and soon Cronig’s Market was carrying our dressing.”
Christopher was the biggest fan of his sister’s dressing, and took over the company when she moved to Colorado.
“My favorite way to have our Toasted Sesame Dressing is on a salad with a little fresh Parmesan cheese. I also love it in fish, especially mahi-mahi or tuna. I baste it, but then add a drizzle on top as a sauce,” says Christopher. That’s one of my favorite things about this dressing — its versatility. Other store-bought dressings are packed with acid, and you can only use them as salad dressing, but Martha’s Vineyard Dressing Co. can be used in a variety of ways: marinating meats, chicken, or fish; as a flavoring in whole grains or rice; or just tossed with vegetables. The possibilities are endless, but its ingredient list is not. Unlike many other store-bought dressings, the Toasted Sesame dressing is limited to a short list of ingredients including canola oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, water, and xanthan gum (a popular thickening agent). While it is not gluten-free, it is non-GMO. The recipe below is a quick and flavorful salad complemented by the dressing, and packed with colors and textures to entice the palate. Give it a try next time you’re in the kitchen.
Chinese Chicken Salad
2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
½ red cabbage head, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
4 scallions, chopped
1 small yellow pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup Martha’s Vineyard Toasted Sesame Dressing
¼ cup slivered almonds
toasted ramen sticks, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
Poach the chicken in simmering seasoned water until cooked (about 15–20 minutes, depending on size). Remove from water and chill. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Pull the chilled chicken until all is shredded. Toss with the vegetables and dressing. Chill until ready to serve.
You can find Martha’s Vineyard Dressing Co. at both Cronig’s Markets, Morning Glory Farm, Larsen’s Fish, and Vineyard Grocer. The company is currently working on a honey-vinaigrette dressing, which they hope to introduce in the next few months. To stay up to date, or for additional recipes, visit facebook.com/MarthasVineyardDressingCo and mvdressingco.com.