Fun with Salad Dressings
By Patrick Carpen
We all buy salad dressings and with the exception of ranch dressing, most sit in our refrigerator until we move or they get up and walk out on their own. The salad dressing market is being dominated by the ranch dressing cartels. But you can single-handedly save the industry by implementing these simple—and sometimes unique—suggestions.
As a marinade for seafood, Caesar salad dressing is incredible and very easy to use—particularly for shrimp or other seafood you might be interested in grilling. The steps are simple: put the seafood (let's say shrimp) into a plastic container, pour in Caesar dressing until the shrimp is covered. Cover the container in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It is recommended that you use "white" seafood. Halibut is great like this. Salmon on the other hand might not be so great.
While on the subject of shrimp, a unique and great cocktail sauce is just a couple of whisks away. Take a cup of Catalina or French salad dressing and add horseradish to taste. The zing from the dressing conspires with the heat of the horseradish to confuse and titillate the taste buds. This is not for the faint of heart, however.
Here's an idea to help you spruce up the backyard BBQ a little: use Thousand Islands dressing in the place of ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard. If it worked for the fast food clown, it certainly will work great for you. For those with a more sophisticated pallet, Blue Cheese is very good on a burger as well.
Italian dressing is another great marinade. Use this one for pork chops, steaks and even chicken. The acidic properties of the dressing bring a nice zing to any dish and the herbs will make any meat pop with flavor.
Honey Mustard is often overlooked as a dip for chicken and vegetables, but how about as a cooking ingredient? The next time you make a Cornish game hen, spoon some thinned down honey mustard over the top. Be generous and keep covered between bastings. The sweet and tangy flavor will come through in the chicken.
It was hinted at the beginning of this article that there would be no ranch dressing recipes. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like even the author can escape the power of ranch. As far as dips go for wings and fried foods like jalapeno poppers, a very easy and unconventional recipe exists that will confound your guests as they try to guess what you put in it. Save your packets of hot sauce from Taco Bell for this one. Add about a dozen (to taste) to 2 cups of Ranch Dressing. Mix in a dash of garlic salt and pepper and you have one of the best onion ring/fried food dippers around.
Experiment with different combinations of dressings and meats. Often, some of the most outlandish combinations will result in a culinary masterpiece that will leave the critics in your house scratching their heads. Remember, have fun and nothing is off limits.
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