Homemade French Salad Dressing, The American Kind

>> Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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You may find the title of my post "Homemade French Salad Dressing, The American Kind" a bit strange. What does she mean French dressing the America kind? What I mean is that this so called "French" salad dressing is not French but rather an American invention. In France salad dressings are light vinaigrettes. My favorite and the one I came across most often was a delicious and light mustard vinaigrette. As a matter of fact the whole time we lived in France never once did we see a orange-red thick salad dressing like the "French" dressing found in the states and other countries. Wait, on one very rare occasion we actually found a bottle of an orange-red dressing, and it was called American Salad Dressing. When we opened it we realized that the flavor was exactly as the "French" dressing we used to purchase in the US. In Prague Hellman's sells the American "French" dressing and is called Francouzsky or French. But there is another local brand that sells this as American rather than French.

Did I loose or confuse you guys enough yet? Ok, so the bottom line is that the orange-red sweet-tart salad dressing you see in the photos is an American invention. If you are in France save yourself the embarrassment and do not ask for the orange-red salad dressing at a local restaurant, also don't complain when your salad does not arrive with that salad dressing but a vinaigrette instead. In case you are wondering, yes I saw Americans in Paris complaining about this. If you simply must have the American "French" dressing then check at a grocery store that carries foreign ingredients.
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Does it sound like I'm bashing American "French" salad dressing? Why no I am not. I don't complain about American style salad dressings, I actually love them. Have you ever dipped potato wedges or french fries into Ranch dressing? Heaven, I tell you! How about using Italian dressing to marinade chicken then grill it? No? Well you must! Don't get me wrong I also love light vinaigrettes and well pretty much any type of dressing for my salads. I started making homemade "French" salad dressing because our grocery store always runs out when I need a bottle. This recipe is one that I've been making for several years now and it's a very close comparison to the bottled kind. Usually I just taste as I go and adjust as I like, so feel free to do so. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you try it.

American Style French Salad Dressing:
Makes 2-3 Servings

3 tbsp. mayonaise
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. each of salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic
1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worchestire sauce

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust to your taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 1 week.

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What is your favorite salad dressing?


Sandra June 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM  

LOL! I can just imagine when somebody ask for the French dressing hahaa.
Color of your homemade dressing look so beautiful, happy color, and as always beautiful photos and tasty recipe!
My favorite dressings are thousand island, and just plain vinegar and olive oil!

Spicie Foodie June 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

Hi Sandra, Thank you :) Oh, yes Thousand Island is good too! I do love oil and vinegar or even just good EVOO on my salads.

Anonymous,  June 8, 2011 at 12:29 PM  

Ha ha - I've had to deal with the fallout of so-called 'French' dressing too, when French family and friends came to visit the US. I actually don't care for it on salads (give me a vinaigrette any day) but if you swap out the vinegar and use lemon juice instead, you've got a great shrimp and/or crab cocktail sauce! Lovely photos, as always!

Carolyn June 8, 2011 at 12:37 PM  

I'm with ya, I'm with ya, I understood you right away. As a kid, my fave dressing was Catalina, which is about the same thing, although your homemade version is surely a ton better!

Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan June 8, 2011 at 2:06 PM  

Not only does this sound fantastic but it's gorgeous! Splashing this pretty dressing on my salads would make them 1000x more appealing!

Mihaela June 8, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

Love the color, thank you for sharing the homemade recipe! I like american dressings, but I try to avoid them, or make them home, because of the preservatives and other stuff they put in. BUT! there's a but :)) one cannot have buffalo wings without ranch :) or have you ever tried fries dipped in thousand islad dressing? :)) YUM!

Emily Malloy June 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM  

Love this! I think this maybe something I gotta try!!! :)

Mitinita June 8, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

Beautiful colors! So glad recipes are available for dressings,the ones sold in our supermarkets are not good at all...too much cornstarch!

Alina---Explora Cuisine June 8, 2011 at 6:28 PM  

What a beautiful colored dressing Nancy! my favourite is tzatziki and blue cheese also, I could eat these two with bread only :))) Have a lovely rest of the week!

muppy June 8, 2011 at 6:33 PM  

I've never seen this dressing, it looks delicious.

Michelle Chin June 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM  

Balsamic vinegar and olive oil OR salsa dressing.

claudia lamascolo June 8, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

always wondered what was in this dressing, this looks delicious, the ketsup threw me never had a clue on that one.... sounds wonderful! Can be a great marinade for chicken too!

Lizzy June 8, 2011 at 8:39 PM  

This American French dressing is one of hubby's favorites...but I'm all for a lovely vinaigrette :)

a. maren June 8, 2011 at 10:43 PM  

i have to say, as much as i've tried to increase my levels of sophistication, i think my favorite salad dressing is still just...RANCH! very sad, very prole. but this french looks like it would come close :)

Erin June 8, 2011 at 10:45 PM  

Love it! My family (minus me) are completely hooked on Ranch - so no confusion there :) Your dressing looks wonderful - great color!

Anna C June 8, 2011 at 11:54 PM  

I guess it depends on the type of salad we're having, but balsamic (white or red) and olive oil seems the one that appears most frequently on our table.

Betty @ scrambled henfruit June 9, 2011 at 12:58 AM  

I remember that when I was growing up, that "french" dressing was all we ever had! I don't think I've had it since, but I bet your homemade version is delicious. I'll have to try it soon- salads are all I'm in the mood for in this heat! :)

Chef Dennis June 9, 2011 at 6:50 AM  

Hi Nancy

it is so funny that we grew up thinking this was French dressing...sigh....instead of a marketing ploy by Kraft! so many folks do love that dressing, I hate to admit it but my favorite dressing is the tomato version of krafts french, Catalina!! I absolutely love that dressing, and bleu cheese would be second!
hope all is well in your world

Guvi June 9, 2011 at 10:21 AM  

I love your post :)), and also the pictures, they are absolutely beautiful! My favourite dressing is actually the balsamic vinaigrette.

Roxana GreenGirl June 9, 2011 at 11:10 PM  

Hi Nancy,
thanks for the dressing background. I had no idea that it's not French.
Although I don't eat my salads with dressing I have to say the color is so beautiful, so different from the store bought one.
Thanks for sharing :)

Hester Casey - Alchemy June 10, 2011 at 6:13 AM  

Never had this. Beautiful colour. I will make salad this weekend just to try this dressing.

Pachecopatty June 10, 2011 at 1:53 PM  

I've never seen 'American style French dressing' looking so good;-) Great simple recipe and gorgeous photos Nancy;-)

Mindy June 11, 2011 at 3:12 PM  

Your photos are stunning and your recipes are making my mouth salivate. So glad I stopped by. I'm your newest follower.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2011 at 7:26 PM  

Hi there! Here in southern IL., there's a locally famous thin - crust pizza joint where everyone uses "French" dressing ON the pizza!
I'll bet this one has a really bright taste!

Sandra June 12, 2011 at 7:50 PM  

I think it's hilarious that what we call French dressing the French call American. Thanks for sharing that and the tasty recipe.

Foodiva June 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM  

This is so funny...I had absolutely no idea what American French dressing is before I read your post! It looks like a thinner, redder version of Thousand Island dressing to me, and even the bottled version of that dressing had me perplexed for many years. My idea of a simple and fresh salad dressing is a good squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil and some fresh herbs chopped into it. No idea what this is called though!

Magic of Spice June 15, 2011 at 12:39 AM  

You are so funny...and I agree fries must be dipped in ranch, or spicy mustard :)
Looks wonderful!

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