Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hump-Day Quickie: Italian Dressing goes on everything!

We at A Book of Cookrye have discovered something: Italian dressing goes on everything. Seriously. We've used it on salads. We've squirted it into skillets instead of oil. We've marinated meat in it. When we're too tired to want to do much more than sling something on the stove, a splash of Italian dressing makes it taste like we put in some modicum of effort. However, an unfortunate result of using Italian dressing on everything is... we ran out. So, we cracked open our Italian cookbook to see just how hard it is to make the stuff ourselves. If so, we just might be able to skip out on going to the supermarket when we'd rather make dinner. Turns out that not only do we have a recipe for Italian dressing in the book, it's actually pretty easy!
The Art of Italian Cooking, Maria Lo Pinto, 1948

As a brief note, you can save time by just putting everything in a bottle and shaking it.
Oil and vinegar ready to go...

In fact, the only way we messed up was misreading a certain spice container. In my defense, for some reason I only saw the French labelling on the side of the can, pronounced it in my head, and figured "close enough." Believe it or not, it actually added a nice kick to it rather than tasting utterly wrong.

And so, we had a nice, if not somewhat runny, measuring cup of dressing ready to pour into the bottle.

It was a very interesting flavor. The spices melded together very well for something so simple. In an odd way, it added up to a wonderfully complex flavor. We only wished it wasn't as thin as water; it'd be better if it could actually coat things. We then happened to see this at the other end of the counter:

That's right. The oil and vinegar still patiently awaited all the spices, and we had just seasoned and spiced our tea. It wasn't a particularly bad batch of Italian salad tea, but when we put the same spices into the oil and vinegar the recipe told us to use, it was just a little better.

And so, in conclusion, you can indeed make Italian dressing in your own house. It's a lot sharper than what you'd buy these days. We noticed immediately that contrary to what one would purchase today, there is no sugar at all in it. So where we previously dumped it in copious quantity over lettuce, we now add just a bit. Also, if you make the recipe in 1½ quantity, it just about fills a bottle to the top.


  1. Dijon mustard and garlic paste will both help emulsify and thicken the dressing up.

    I use a Good Seasons cruet when I make dressing. Fill to the V line with vinegar, fill to the W line with things like mustard, garlic, and other herbs, then fill to the O line with oil. Then shake the hell out of it!

    1. I looked that cruet up and it looks so nice I filed under "things to buy when my degree pays off"! Though for now I'm still stuck with reusing old salad dressing bottles. Though I use glass ones so that even after many reuses, there's no plastic taste.