Friday, January 28, 2011

White Trash Chef - Sunny Catalina

When I worked the service bar at 'hotel fancy,' it was wedged in the corner of the kitchen just beyond the dishwasher. Not a lonely corner, mind you, because everyone who needed wine or booze had to send me an electronic ticket. I would make the drink and they would collect it. In between, I would clean and hang out with the chefs.

One day a hotel guest requested thousand island dressing for their salad, not the house mandated vinaigrette. A whole bunch of young chefs who had paid lots of money for training stood around and scratched their heads. "No worries," I said. "I will make you some." I mixed mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle relish from the employees cafe and viola! I was christened the "white trash chef"- a title that I love.

Recently I was browsing the daily menu for Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville. Their menus read like a pedigreed but I love to look at them for inspiration. For the salad course, it listed Catalina Dressing. Certainly it was not the Kraft bottled version? I cruised the internet and decided to use this recipe. It is really nothing more than a vinaigrette. An emulsion of oil and vinegar with seasonings. Did I change the recipe? A little. I used organic ketchup and subbed a little olive oil. I guess I can't leave anything alone when it comes to recipes. The result was grand. Better than the bottled stuff. We have used it a salad dressing and a sweet and sour topper for roasted potato and vegetables. White trash chef strikes again!


cookiecrumb said...

I love it! I share a dislike of purchased dressings.
I'm horrified by the amount of sugar in the recipe, though! Also, it seems like so much oil...
Well, that's what tinkering is for.

Chilebrown said...

I will take thousand Island dressing anyday.