If there is a “house dressing” at a restaurant, I almost always choose it. It means that they make it there, in house. It means it is the favorite, their specialty. And I want to have that! I remember a restaurant we frequented in college that had a warm, honey bacon dressing as their “house dressing” and I was in love with it. And there was a blue cheese vinaigrette at another fine eating spot.
When at Grayton Beach this summer, our family went to a famous local restaurant/dive, the Red Bar. You might have seen the T-shirts people wear. It is a fun, eclectic, cluttery restaurant that locals and visitors frequent. I had a salad topped with grilled fish. It was good – really good. But the best part of my meal was the dressing. It is their house dressing – a tomato basil vinaigrette, and it is so tasty. I got the recipe, or one that is pretty darn close to it, when I was in Florida. We have tried it at home and it’s a hit.
It’s sweet enough and vinegary enough for my liking, and herby and not-too-sweet enough for Dave. You’ll have to try it and let me know what you think.
Here it is:
Red Bar Tomato Basil Dressing:
1 1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp worcestershire
1 egg yolk*
In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolk until light yellow. Add oil slowly, whipping continuously. Add vinegar and all other ingredients. Stir well until fully incorporated.
*Now, I know some of you are freaking out because there’s a raw egg yolk in this dressing recipe, but I think it has legitimate reason for being there. “They” say it is an emulsifier and therefore improves the texture and smoothness. If you can’t bear the thought of it, I imagine you could use an egg substitute, or omit it altogether.
What would your house dressing be?