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Italian Dressing

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
You know...you make best what you like best. I love creamy dressings and have great recipes for the standards...ranch, blue cheese and a simple, lovely, creamy poppyseed. My dressing that I offer for the oil and vigar/italian crowd, I don't think is anything to write home about. It's a simple italian dressing mady from mixing olive oil and a whole bunch of italian spices that I use in a number of other places in my operation..."Italian Seasoning".

I never get raves about my italian like I do for my other house-made dressings. I just don't think I do it well. I'm thinking about going with a pre-made oil/vinegar option.

Does anyone out there have a recipe or a specific pre-made oil/vinegar dressing that gets RAVES from their customers (brand name/name/distributor)?
post #2 of 16
Hey Chef, Is it an Emulsion or a 3 parts oil to 1 part Vin mix with Herbs?????????????
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
What a great question. It isn't emulsion and I wonder if that one step would go a long ways to making it a better dressing.

I have pasted below the recipe that I have used...been used a long time and it looks good on paper. But it really doesn't move at all compared to the pace of our others.


Italian Dressing

Whisk together:
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 cup dry Italian mix
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl + 1 tsp sugar
1 heaping Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
dash of white pepper

Then whisk in superbly well:
4 cup oil

Italian Spice Mix

1 ½ C. Basil
¾ C. Granulated garlic
¾ C. Onion flakes
¾ C. Rosemary – ground
½ C. Thyme
½ C. Marjoram
½ C. Oregano
¼ Cup Savory

Blend in small batches to make a powdery mix.
post #4 of 16
What kind of oil,???? I would figure if it wasn't an Emulsion it would be olive oil..........Anyway, I have never had a Great oil and vin dressing anyplace,even mine. I have had many Italian Emulsion dressing that have been great.........I would take what you have now and just make it an Emulsion and see what happens.........take care..Bill..P.S right now your doing a 2 to 1 ratio I would try a 3 to 1
post #5 of 16
I've always heard and used the oil to vinegar ratio mentioned by ChefBillyB 3:1. Your recipe is indicating a 2:1 ratio which may be making your dressing too tart/acidic??
post #6 of 16
Your ratio seems right 2 parts oil =i part vinegar (I would put in Balsamic) no cider
Try Hellmans or Kens Balsamic Vinagrette both good and consistant.
CHEFED
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post #7 of 16
For what you are trying to achieve, I'd have to agree with ED - balsamic is the way to go. A nice emulsified Balsamic vinaigrette is always a crowd pleaser(for those who prefer more than just good olive oil, salt and lemon) -I dont have a recipe at hand, but start with your ratio of vinager to oil, use a little dijon mustard and honey to help with the emulsification. I like to use "pomace" olive oil as opposed to "salad" oil for the flavor. With the addition of some salt and pulvarized fresh garlic, I can't imagine needing anything more.

IMHO, dry "italian seasoning" should liberaly spinkled into the trash, for best results.
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #8 of 16
here's a nice emulsified balsamic vin


in a running robot coupe add-

2-3 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
2-3 tbls fresh chopped thyme
slowly add enough water to get this to kinda slurry up.
when it looks as broken down as it can get add-

3/4 cup of balsamic vin
2 egg yolks

allow to blend in, then

slowly add 2 cups oil, (olive, vege etc..) to emulsify

salt and pepper to taste

voila enjoy
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #9 of 16
I think the problem is that Italian dressing in the true sense, that is, as italians eat it, is not done as an emulsion or mixed together in bowl or bottle, but is made directly on the lettuce in the big common salad bowl you serve it from. It's not a question of being a "purist". Who cares about authentic, as long as it tastes good. But it seems many of you are agreeing that your "italian dressing" is just not that good. Maybe because that's not how it's supposed to taste.

An old Italian saying for dressing salad goes: be a spendthrift with the oil, a miser with the vinegar, and toss, toss, toss. The tossing is essential. It's like pasta sauce, it';s not poured on the center of the pasta but is mixed already before bringing the big bowl to the table.
Also, since it;ls so simple it relies (like most italian food) on the quality of the raw materials. Good extra virgin olive oil. Good vinegar (i only encountered balsamic here some ten years ago, before it was always wine vinegar, though i do prefer balsamic).

If you want to make an italian salad dressing, you really have to coat every leaf, tossing and tossing the salad, and you pour your oil and vinegar (sometimes some people use lemon instead) and salt (some, like me, can't eat without pepper) directly on the leaves. That's it. No herbs. You're supposed to taste the lettuce and carrots and tomatoes and whatever else is in season (fennel, celery, other greens like arucola).
Not to say you can;t do what you like with oil and vinegar, but what you';re making is a vinaigrette, it;s french and it;s not really italian dressing. Also Italians cut up their lettuce, (horrors!) into bite-sized pieces. This facilitates the oil getting everywhere. If you cut your lettuce with a sharp knife it won;t bruise or anything. I don;t see why not. I think tearing it makes the likelihood of bruising it (with your hands) much greater.

Putting a bunch of herbs in means you taste only herbs, not the salad. So if you want herbs, probably you should choose one (chive? basil? origano?) and use it fresh so it;s not so pungent.
1:4 vinegar to oil is way too much. You don;t want something sharp, you want somethinhg refreshing. In fact it;s eaten after the main course. Pasta or soup, then meat and veg, then salad. Cleans the palate, makes you feel good. So a little acid (vinegar or lemon) and crunchy salad and oil, preparing the way for desert or cheese.

I do it always by eye - i put enough oil to make the lettuce glisten when i toss it, and then vinegar measured in drops not in cups, not even in tablespoons. I salt it and pepper it from the shaker like i would salt something in my dish, imagining the various layers of salad as if it were a series of servings one on top of the other. Everybody seems to like my salad, on both sides of the ocean.
Oh, and i do do something that is highly irregular here (definitely not a purist) and i rub the salad bowl with a cut piece of garlic. It gives a very subtle taste that nobody can detect but is very pleasant.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 16
Siduri - i couldn't agree more. Great explanation.

CSnack - are your greens nice and dry prior to dressing them? This can make a huge difference too. I would simplify the herbs too as Siduri said - less is more. Dressed at last moment of course is best.

Have fun experimenting :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #11 of 16
Interesting if anyone has used this recipe:
Recipe for Italian dressing

I usually purchase mine pre-made, but making one from scratch has great potential for flavor and of course customizing.:chef:
post #12 of 16

Italian dressing

Mix your salad in a large bowl, lettuce, tomato, green onion, olives ,etc.
chop some fresh parsley and add.
Sprinkle with a generous amount of garlic powder, salt pepper. Add a pinch of sugar.
Then add your balsamic and extra virgin olive oil to taste.
Sample and adjust.
Toss and serve in bowls.

There are no real measures, Its all done by number of servings.
It is quick and simple.
Most people love it.

BTW; Some people have not acquired a taste for balsamic,

Lisa
post #13 of 16
Why did the tomato blush?

It saw the Italian dressing.

oh dear :) Someone had to say it......
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #14 of 16

Italian or not Italian

There are NO italian dressing in Italy. You will never get your salad predressed in any Italian restaurant or family, unless it's a cheap place or a supertouristic place.
The rule here in Italy is that you serve the ingredients for dressing, olive oil, vinager, salt and pepper, now recently added balsamic. And anyone does his own dressing.
First vinager and than salt, last oil. This because olive oil screens vinager, and vinager accepts salt.
post #15 of 16
Maybe I've only gone to cheap restaurants (that's for sure!) and maybe rome is different from tuscany. But in the home, i rarely have been served salad non condito. Tossing is essential. I know very few people who put cruets on the table, and even fewer who actually have salt shakers or presentable salt holders. Only, perhaps, some people very concerned with calories will want to dress their own.

Maybe, as i say, it's tuscan - here, as you know, rigid traditions can be as regional as a neighborhood. My parents are from Tuscany and they always had the cruets on the table. But in Rome, I'm almost always was served a big salad bowl already dressed.

And as for restaurants, I definitely never went to expensive ones so i can;t contest that.

But, where, then, does the proverb come from "per l'insalata ci vuole un avaro per l'aceto, un prodigo per l'olio, e un pazzo per rivoltare" ? Can't very well "rivoltare" in your dish. right?
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #16 of 16

Salad dressing

No I don't go to rome. At home, yes sometimes we dress salad before, with the result that someome does not eat it. Maybe you are right rome is different.
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