Ancient Salad Dressing

amphorae-shipThe idea that if something works well there’s no reason to change it might be applied to the culinary history of Italy. The idea of simple food simply prepared using the best ingredients has been a hallmark of Italian cuisine with authentic dishes that highlight regional traditions and accentuate the products of the land  - herbs, grains, seafood, meats, wine and olive oil.

The traditional olive oil salad dressing (Italian vinaigrette) has a gastro-history of ancient origins. Last summer a 2000 -year-old shipwreck buried in mud off the Ligurian coast near Varazze in Italy was discovered that contained sealed clay amphorae thought to still hold preserved food items.  In recent years scientists have found other well-preserved artifacts from Mediterranean shipwrecks. Using sophisticated technologies like remote operating vehicles, sonar mapping equipment and genetic analysis they have been able to identify the contents of  jars of cargo including an ancient salad dressing (olive oil flavored with oregano).

The first bottled salad dressing!

Make Your Own Italian Vinaigrette 

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp  fresh chopped  oregano
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together and let stand for 30 minutes for flavors to blend together. Whisk  again immediately before serving.
Makes 1 cup of dressing.

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2 Responses to “Ancient Salad Dressing”

  1. We learn so much from gastro-history. The then-and-now connections of foods helps us reconnect to our history.

    • You are right. It is fascinating to learn the back-story behind the foods we cook and eat. Don’t you think that knowing the how and why of what we eat makes our meals and sourcing the ingredients we use more meaningful . . . and important?

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