Agrodolce Dressing

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    1 cup

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This dressing is based on the Italian sweet and sour sauce agrodolce, which is basically a mixture of caramelized sugar and vinegar or wine. Unlike an ordinary vinaigrette, which tastes best soon after it’s made, agrodolce needs to sit awhile for its flavor to develop, so be sure to start well ahead of when you want to use the dressing.


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mixed whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup or so olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice


Combine the Sugar and ¼ cup of water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture is golden and caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add the vinegar and wine (the mixture will sputter). Place back on medium heat and stir in the garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, and salt. Stir for a minute or two until all the caramel has melted. Remove from the heat, cool, cover, and set aside for at least 3 hours or overnight. Whisk in the olive oil and lime juice to taste. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.