For Native Americans in what would eventually become New England, maple sap collected in the spring provided the sole sugar supply for the entire year. Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes and waffles! Its distinctive flavor enhances both sweet and savory dishes. I use it with baked apples or squash, on chicken or pork, in salad dressing and cranberry sauce.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (raspberry-infused balsamic vinegar is very good too)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp powdered mustard
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
Put all ingredients into a jar and shake well. The flavors will blend better if the dressing sits a while at room temperature before serving (then re-shake or stir before pouring on salad).
(Photo: Each spring, in Charlie Baker’s sugarhouse in Shirley, Maine, maple sap is boiled down to syrup in a wood-fired evaporator.)