Salad dressing is one of the most unfortunate categories of “food” there is. For many people (myself included, sometimes), the only way a hunk of lettuce or other vegetable will approach their mouths is if it is loaded down with dressing or some other kind of sauce. The harsh reality, as we know all too well, is that the average salad dressing contains more than enough calories, fat, and sodium to cancel out the nutritional benefits of an otherwise healthy salad.
Don’t worry; I’m not trying to turn this website into the latest nutrition-crazed food blog (though I advise you all to look into the dietary benefits of peppers). Rather, it seemed like a fitting way to introduce today’s product, since I don’t normally equate salad dressing with spicy food. Without further ado, then, let’s look at Angelo Pietro’s Original Dressing (Shoyu) & Marinate, out of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Soybean Oil, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Water, Onion Puree (Onion, Water, Citric Acid), Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Brown Sugar, Rice Vinegar, Salt, Distilled Vinegar, Black Olives (Black Olives, Water, Salt, Ferrous Gluconate), Tangle Extract (Tangle Extract, Maltose Syrup, Salt, Sugar, Yeast Extract), Sweet Red Peppers (Bell Peppers, Water, Citric Acid), Yeast Extract, Garlic, Fish Sauce Powder (Sardines, Maltodextrin), White Pepper, Onion Extract (Onion Extract, Citric Acid), Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum, Roasted Garlic, Shiitake Mushroom Powder (Shiitake Mushroom, Dextrin, Salt, Wheat Flour, Yeast Extract), Dried Bonito Powder.
I have a personal policy of listing every single ingredient, no matter how long or complicated the list is. I think this might be the first time I’ve reviewed a product that requires dual degrees in Chemistry and Culinary Arts to comprehend the entire list of ingredients. For those of you who might be as new to some of these things as I am, here’s a brief rundown:
Shoyu: Soy sauce
Tangle Extract: Seaweed or kelp extract
Bonito: A relatively small fish often used in Pacific cuisine
Well, it looks like a salad dressing, so at least there aren’t any surprises in the appearance department. As with most non-creamy dressings you might find at the local grocery store, this product needs to be shaken before use, because the denser ingredients settle at the bottom of the bottle. When properly shaken, this dressing has a somewhat murky brown color to it, and is appropriately thin for a dressing and marinate.
Smell and Taste:
Angelo Pietro’s Original Dressing certainly smells a bit like a soy sauce. The smell isn’t terribly strong, though, so it probably won’t offend people with sensitive olfactory senses. The mild smell makes it harder to pick out individual notes. There’s a hint of garlic (garlic, of course, is one of those things that makes its presence known), but there’s not much else that strikes me. In terms of smell, this product is definitely the sum of its parts. I guess it also tastes that way, too. The flavor is about as unassuming as the smell, coming across as a somewhat bland cross between a soy sauce and an Italian dressing.
There’s no heat of which to speak here. Oh, sure, there’s a bit of zest, but that hardly registers on the heat scale. We’ll have to go with a Mild for this one, but even that seems to imply a slight amount of heat. I could forgive the disappointing heat showing if the flavor were wonderful, but this product really doesn’t do anything for me. The best I can say about this dressing is that it isn’t offensive. I’ll give it a Neutral, but that rating also comes with a very sad and disappointed shake of my head. Frankly, this might be a case of too many ingredients spoiling the dressing (to paraphrase the old idiom).
What this product needs is some meat. Marinate some chicken in this and it should be pretty good. In fact, I would suggest adding a bit of lemon pepper flavor to the recipe as well, along with a dash of chipotle powder. That way, you’ll enhance both the flavor and heat of this product. The bottle insists that this stuff also “makes a wonderful dip when mixed with mayonnaise.” If any of you out there try that, let me know. I kind of don’t like mayonnaise.
I’ll end with a note. Angelo Pietro is a Honolulu-based restaurant, and this isn’t the only dressing/marinate they sell. Their Sesame & Miso offering, which I have also acquired, sounds like it might actually register on the spicy scale. Look for that review in the near future.