Hey, I betcha can’t guess what my favorite dressing was when I was a kid? Ok, well you probably got it. You get a prize! A free recipe for Home-made Catalina French Dressing!
Sometimes ya just have to go retro – leafing through my recipe file I came across Catalina Dressing – Catalina reminds me of my childhood when my favorite was “Western,” a thick, sweet, tangy dressing. This, though, isn’t quite as sweet, a little more sophisticated, and is an absolutely perfect blend of flavors.
About Home-made Catalina French Dressing:
You can tell why a kid would like it, but to tell the truth, it’s still the dressing I’ll go for if I’m running through one of those salad bar lines. It goes so well with the sturdy, crunchy lettuce like iceberg or romaine you’ll find there, and it tastes fantastic as it mingles with the croutons and a little cheese.
Do you know what else it’s good on? Good old Taco Salad, like this Frito Taco Salad. It’s fantastic on its own or mixed with a touch of some thin taco sauce, like Ortega or Taco Bell’s to spark it up.
And if you’re curious about this dressing, it really is rooted in a classic French dressing. It’s amazingly similar to the vinaigrettes my Mom made when I was a child; they, however, weren’t sweet and of course, had no ketchup. I think this recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated, and you know they do anything they make just right.
Making Home-made Catalina French Dressing:
This dressing really is just as simple as mixing the ingredients together. That being said, it does take a bit of time for the sugar to dissolve, so shake vigorously. It really is at it’s best after it sits for a while; the flavors smooth out and meld together, but it’s still really good right away.
The recipe calls to grate a little onion; honestly, sometimes that’s too much when I want to get dinner on the table and I just add in a good pinch of onion powder, instead. I can’t taste the difference in the final product, and especially can’t once it’s on a salad.
If it gets thick in the fridge and still needs to be shaken together, bring to room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, pop it in the microwave for several seconds, then stir.
Saving Money on Home-made Catalina French Dressing:
I love making my own dressings, and it’s generally cheaper to make your own than to buy anything in a bottle. This was put together for less than a dollar and it’s fresher than anything you’ll find in a bottle! There’s going to be far fewer additives (the ketchup will have a few) than any commercial product, and your own dressings are easy to customize.
Once you have an idea of what’s in a dressing, it’s up to you if you want to add a bit more of or take away a touch of any of the ingredients. Just taste and adjust.
Home-made Catalina French Dressing
- 2/3 cup mild oil
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grated onion or a good pinch of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
Shake all ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let sit for one hour for flavors to blend. Shake vigorously to recombine before using. If it’s difficult to shake, bring to room temperature.
Keeps well for several weeks.