To make up (at least a bit) for my week of anchovy horrors and kinda over-spiced chicken paprikas; I am bringing back one of my favorite salad dressings: an updated version of Catalina French. But this time I’ve added some of that hot smoked Spanish paprika that got me into a bit of a bother with the chicken and added a bit of extra summer flavor by using Caribbean Calypso Seasoning in place of my more usual chili powder.
What a nice dressing!
•1/4 cup sugar
•1/4 tsp seasoned salt
•1/4 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
•1/4 tsp celery salt
•1/4 tsp Colman’s mustard
•1/4 tsp Caribbean Calypso Seasoning
•1/3 cup ketchup
•1/2 cup canola oil
I’ve also picked up a new trick for making this most tasty of salad dressings: pop the onion and all of the seasonings into the blender, then pour the ketchup over all and blend until smooth.
Adding the ketchup last will keep the powdered seasonings from flying up into the blender jar whilst you blend everything together and greatly reduces the amount of scraping down the sides needed.
Ketchup and onion and seasonings well and truly blended, now is the time to drizzle in the canola oil.
With the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream and whizzz until the dressing emulsifies – the color will change from ketchup red to a kind of supermarket French dressing orange – but the taste will be oh! so much more better!
I don’t really know if my Tante Marie ever actually made this dressing while she traveled with her husband in the circus and lost all that money investing with that one (!) unscrupulous Broadway producer; in fact, I never actually met Tante Marie, but I can imagine her whisking a version of this together on a warm summer’s evening while my pepé and memé were visiting.
So good, and so simple – why buy the stuff from the store?
Of course, for my anchovy penance, I’ve declared a Double Parfait; so let us use a bit of my (imagined) Tante Marie’s Dressing to spruce up a quick pasta salad.
Jardinière could mean a garden urn, or mebbe a tall vase suitable for gladioli, but in this case, it means a salad made from a box of macaroni and cheese and French dressing, tossed with fresh veggies and a bit of good mayonnaise.
I had a box of Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese on hand, that I prepared mostly according to package directions… except that I used whole milk in place of skim, and added 1 tablespoon of butter for goodness taste.
•1 box mac and cheese dinner
•1/3 cup Tante Marie’s dressing
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•1 tbsp chopped onion
•1 cup diced celery
•1 cup diced cucumber
•Seasoned salt and pepper
Prepare the mac and cheese according to package directions, stir in the cheese packet, milk and butter, then add the dressing.
Cover and stash in the fridge until chilled.
Fold in the mayonnaise and then the veggies; stir well to combine, then taste.
Season with a bit more salt and pepper, cover, and stash back in the fridge (ideally, overnight) to let the flavors blend together.
Serve cold, at room temperature, or, as I often do, with a fork straight from the bowl in the fridge. It is that good.