This delicious liquid with its myriad shades of amber and gold can add flavor and mouthfeel to so many dishes that is easy to love. It can add touch of sweetness to a vinaigrette or your afternoon tea or body and complexity to a braise. Honey can also be a vehicle for infusing flavor. Your local bees are converting sunshine into sugar! Mmmm, magic.
What can be said of the joy that honey brings to so many people that hasn’t been said before? For this recipe, we infuse applewood smoke into honey from our neighboring store Beekind to add depth to our vinaigrette at Handline. It’s a process, but the resulting flavor is well worth the effort and smoked honey can live in your pantry right next to your other favorite condiment jars.
Yield: approx. one cup
2 Tbl. smoked honey*
2 lemons, juiced, strained
1 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
½-¾ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil and salt in a small mixing bowl. Whisk together to combine. While whisking, slowly add olive oil to the mixture (pro tip: roll up a kitchen towel and twist it into a circle under your mixing bowl to stabilize it so you can pour oil with one hand and whisk with the other).
Adjust the seasoning with salt or more lemon to your taste.
*A note on smoking honey:
For the home cook there are a couple options. If you have a powerful hood above your range you can use a stovetop smoker, but you may prefer to do this outside with a kettle or gas grill. I buy applewood chips at my local hardware store and soak a couple handfuls in water for at least half an hour. Strain the chips and set aside. Pour honey into a wide and shallow container. You want to expose as much of the surface of the honey to the smoke, but be sure it’s a vessel that you will be able to handle easily while its hot (honey will hold its heat for a while, so be careful!). For a kettle grill, I like to get a few pieces of charcoal red hot in my smoking tray and I drop my chips on top. In a gas grill, a smoking tray set on top one of the burners works great. Place your honey onto the grates and be sure the vessel is stable. Close the lid and smoke the honey for at least an hour.
An stay tuned for our upcoming Handline Roasted Beets recipe for another way to use this delicious smoked honey!