Friday, April 16, 2010

Catalina Dressing

The other day my wife and I threw a little party for some friends. I was preparing the salad, and I noticed that we didn't have very big selection of dressings (just ranch). Rather than run out and buy some, I decided to whip up a couple. Italian vinaigrettes are pretty easy - just mix good olive oil, vinegar, and whatever seasonings you like (or a packet of Good Seasons dressing mix). The Italian dressing finished, I moved my attention to the Catalina dressing. Basically a sweetened vinaigrette thickened with ketchup, I've never been a huge fan of Catalina (or French) dressing. The bottled stuff is always too sweet and one-dimensional. However, I discovered that as long as you lay off the corn syrup, the addition of ketchup gives it a nice texture and flavor, making it smoother and more emulsified than a regular vinaigrette. If I can master the art of ranch, I may never buy another bottle of salad dressing again!

PS: Apparently, we actually did have more salad dressing in the pantry. According to my wife, she told me this while I was getting the salad ready, but I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't hear her. Oh well, I'm glad my lack of attention allowed me to discover this recipe!

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (as you like it)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh onion (use less if the onion is really strong)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Canola, safflower, or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Put the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, onion, paprika, and Worcestershire in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle in the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.

Note: The seasoning choices are easily customizable. You could replace (or augment) the paprika with celery seeds, curry powder, creole seasoning (Bam!), chili powder (great for taco salads), or whatever goes well with the rest of your meal (although all of the above would probably not be good). Feel free to explore!

1 comment:

brekke said...

This recipe was sooooo good. I personally think the extra onion made it great!