I don't know if I have mentioned here that I am completely obsessed with Paul Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. I mean, I could probably chug the stuff. We have eaten it every day for, oh, I don't know, 10 years or so. And it isn't just me that joneses for it. My kids, my husband... all of us.
About a month ago I wrote a letter to Paul Newman's company, demanding that they send me the recipe. I can't keep on buying this stuff, I huffed. It is $3.50 a pint and we eat it every stinkin' day and I am going broke. My kids college fund? Ate it with kalamata olives and feta cheese. That trip to Vietnam we keep talking about? Doused it on romaine lettuce and hearts of palm. The new kitchen cabinets? Poured over chopped tomatoes and cukes.
I got an almost sympathetic note back telling me that, NO, they wouldn't give me the recipe. But if I wanted, they'd send a couple of coupons. That isn't going to buy us plane tickets, but ok. I got an envelope with $2 bucks worth of coupons in the mail.
Now, before you think I am completely insane, (too late, you say...) I have spent the last 10 years trying to reproduce the recipe. I have the list of ingredients from the bottle. I have done some online sleuthing and discovered that Paul marinates his garlic and onions in vinegar before mixing it with the oils so that he doesn't have to use preservatives. I have tested and mixed and chopped and whisked, to no avail.
And it's not that I can't make a perfectly delicious homemade dressing. From a French uncle I learned about lemon, garlic and olive oil with kosher salt, all crushed with a wooden spoon in the bottom of a wooden bowl. It is fantastic.
But for some reason, whatever the addictive quality of the NOOO&V (Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar) is, I couldn't replicate it.
Last night though, the Holy Spirit, friend of fermented grapes everywhere, came to me and I whisked this together:
1 clove crushed garlic
2 T finely minced red onion
1/8 c red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 t prepared dijon mustard
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. (For us, lots!)
1/2 cup pure olive oil (not extra virgin) (or to taste)
Add everything except the oil together and whip with a whisk. Taste! If you like the flavors, add the oil and whisk to emulsify. Today I quadrupled the recipe and made it a big Ball jar.
It's good. Really good. And my family said it kicked Newman's ass.
Ya hear that Paul?!?!