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Aegean Salad Dressing

A lot of the recipes I work on come about because somebody on the radio asked me for it. A fellow named Philip called me three times–each call separated by a year or so–before I got around to making what he called Aegean salad dressing. In trying to figure out what it was–I’d never heard of the stuff–I went through a few dozen cookbooks and many pages of Bing searches. No two were even close to alike, beyond that all of them were thick vinaigrettes with herbs. I didn’t get a good bead on the puzzle until my daughter and I went to Chicago a year and a half ago. I found it on numerous menus there, and tried it a couple of times. Not long after I returned to town, I found it being served at Caffe Fresca in Metairie. It’s a good dressing. I have no idea what their recipe is, but here is my approximation.

  • 2 large, very fresh garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 1 scant tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure olive oil (not virgin)

1. Trim the garlic cloves of anything dry or hard, and remove the green shoot in the center (it’s better if the garlic is so fresh that the shoot isn’t even there).

2. In a blender, combine the garlic and half of the lemon juice. Run the blender until you have a translucent, pale liquid with few visible solids.

3. Add all the other ingredients except the 100% pure olive oil. Add two tablespoons of water. Run the blender for about thirty seconds.

4. Add a few drops of the pure olive oil and run the blender on medium speed. After thirty seconds, add the pure olive oil in a thin stream while running at medium-high speed. Continue adding the oil until it gets noticeably thicker.

5. Turn the blender off and stick a spoon into the dressing to taste it. Adjust with salt and black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 1/4 cups of dressing.

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