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John Grisanti Salad Dressing

Subject: Grisanti salad dressing
From: Pat
Date: 2/6/2021, 6:49 AM

On 2/5/2021 6:00 PM, Pat wrote:

Do you have access to John Grisantiís Airways restaurant Gorgonzola 
(could have been blue cheese) salad dressing? Embers was close too.

Thank you,

Hi Pat,

Fortunately, I lived in Northeast Mississippi for many years, so I am familiar with these Memphis restaurants even if I have never dined at them.

I prefer to have one request per post, so I am replying to these one at a time.

First, the Grisanti's salad dressing:

I could not find any mention at all of a Grisanti's gorgonzola salad dressing. I found a scan of a John Grisanti's menu here: Historic Memphis

There is no gorgonzola salad or salad dressing listed on it, but there is a bleu cheese salad listed. Perhaps that's it? Sorry, no luck finding a recipe.

It's not listed on that menu, but I found several mentions of a salad served at "The Original Grisanti's Restaurant" called "Miss Mary's Salad". The dressing on this salad was "Grisanti's House Italian Dressing" - no gorgonzola in the dressing itself. However, "Miss Mary's Salad" had crumbled gorgonzola on top of it. Perhaps that's it? Sadly, I could not find any recipes at all for any of these things. The Grisanti family has not shared these recipes.

In a recipe book that I have called "Memphis Cuisine:†Sampling of Restaurants and their Recipes" by Christine Arpe Gang, I found an Italian dressing recipe from another Grisanti family member - from "Ronnie Grisanti's Restaurant" on Poplar. It's called "Rinaldo's Italian Salad Dressing."† Rinaldo was the patriarch of the Grisanti family, the one who came here from Italy and began the family's restaurant tradition. Possibly this recipe is similar to that "House Italian Dressing" that was served at John Grisanti's Restaurant. That recipe is below. If you make a salad from your recollection of the one you had at John Grisanti's, crumble gorgonzola on top, and use this recipe for Rinaldo's Italian dressing, then there is a possibility, however slim, that it will taste similar to your recollection.

As for "The Embers", I could not find any recipe for a gorgonzola dressing from there, but I did find an Embers menu here:

Embers Menu

On that menu is listed an "Embers Special Salad Dressing", which was a blend of native gorgonzola and imported Roquefort cheeses. Sorry, I was unable to locate a recipe, just this description.

This is the best that I can do, but I will post this for reader input.


Rinaldo's Italian Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons (6 tablespoons)
1 large onion, grated
10 cloves garlic, chopped

In a large jar with a screw top, combine all ingredients. Shake to mix well
before pouring over fresh salad greens. Keeps well at room temperature.
Makes 2 cups

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