Thursday, June 17, 2010

79. California French Dressing, American Red Dressing

French dressing is a common and  taste-friendly dressing...not too heavy, kind of tangy and a little sweet. It has a pretty color and its slightly thick consistency helps it cling to salad greens; an all around tasty addition to many meals. Everyone in my family has always liked it.

 French dressing, just like the common French fry, did not exactly get its start in France. The French fry, for instance became known to Americans throughThomas Jefferson who spent years in France as the Minister for our fledgling government. Jefferson loved his experiences there and, upon his return to America, brought the recipe for potatoes that he said were fried in the French manner. While it is not clear if he meant  the cooking method or the julienned style of cutting them, Jefferson clearly failed to mention was that this type of potato had been invented in Belgium.

The familiar tomato-based mixture we call  French dressing, on the other hand,  actually became popular in England and the US during the 20th century...there is nothing French about it. People in France do have a French dressing, but it is a vinaigrette...oil and vinegar...enhanced with herbs and spices. They have been making it that way since the 1880s.

Today's post, is a wonderful, easy to make and inexpensive dressing. Its flavor surpasses commercial bottled varieties and should make your next salad extra special. Maybe it should be called American Red Dressing

Note: as there are no preservatives in the dressing, use within a week or two.

California French Dressing

½ C  canola oil
1 tsp salt
¼ C cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
Juice of ½ lemon
1/4 sweet onion
½ C sugar
1 clove garlic
1/3 C catsup

Measure all ingredients into a food processor or Vita Mix. Pulse until well blended and use immediately or refrigerate. For fruit salad, use more lemon and less vinegar.

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