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The french chef's secret salad dressing...

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The french chef's secret salad dressing...

T.Davis | Jul 1, 2003 12:49 PM

About 4 or 5 years ago we started dining at a small french bistro restaurant. The lowest ranking item on his menu is the house black peppercorn salad. I make pretty good salads mainly because my wife is vegetarian and will eat them 7 days a week. However, because of that, I cannot eat a salad at home. But, when I go out, it is generally on the check stub when we pay up. This
french chef's dressing is one I think I can eat at home.

The first year we ate there, he came out and sat down with us for a few minutes and when I asked about the dressing... he said to use egg white. Well, I practiced many times at home but it didn't seem to be the same
dressing. I did learn that french chefs sometimes use the egg white as a stabilizer.

The next year he came out and sat down with us and when I asked about the dressing he said... no no... use egg yolk. Again I practiced and again did not get close to his dressing.

We took a party of five to dinner there on saturday. He came out to see how things were. The minute he recognized me, my comment of "great salad dressing
chef" was applied to his backside as he quickly skedaddled back inside. I guess he was afraid I was going to overtax his imagination for a yet a third
version.

I am more than likely the only one who orders a large cup of his dressing to go. At this point I don't trust him enough to think there might not be something added to the container next time I order it. So the cup I have now is the last I will have to test with. What bothers me is, that this is actually a very simple
recipe yet I cannot come up with a match.

Here is what I think I know...

I think he only uses 1 or 2 tsps of egg yolk.
He uses red wine vinegar... about 2 tbls not 3 tbls
About 1/2 cup of oil maybe... perhaps canola perhaps olive oil
I don't taste any mustard like dijon.
I would say about 6 to 9 grinds of black pepper
Maybe a pinch of sugar.

What gets me is that his dressing is thicker and creamer than mine yet I cannot think of what ingredient he is using to accomplish this. Perhaps it is technique. I whisk the yolk then whisk in the vinegar then slowly add in the oil. Maybe I should whisk in the oil slowly at first and then the vinegar. The dressing will get a little thicker after it sits in the frig for an hour or so.

Anyway, any thoughts you have I will try. I am exhausted but not defeated. If you can improve on this salad let me know also.

BTW, some of his salad technique I now use for this type of salad. He only uses about 1 part mescluin to 5 parts romaine or red leaf... haricots that are
briefly blanched... carrots and beets that have been cut on that 200 dollar machine that makes curls... small thin croutons cut in a rectangle shape. He
toasts a piece of bread on the outside then cuts it into thin slices so only the outside is toasted. Sometimes he will add small pieces of tomato or peeled and seeded cucumbers.

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