Eliza Acton’s English sauce for salad


  • 2 egg yolks, from cooled hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or substitute with white pepper)
  • 1/2 cup thickened or double cream
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • splash Tabasco sauce, optional


This recipe is from Eliza Acton’s Modern cookery for private families, first published in 1845. Additional flavours can be added, such as worcestershire, mushroom or anchovy sauce (or anchovies mashed until smooth), a pinch of mace or nutmeg, or a hint of garlic rubbed into the bowl from a freshly cut clove before mashing the yolks.


Mash the yolks in a mixing bowl using the back of a spoon until very smooth. Add sugar, cayenne or white pepper, and a good pinch of salt, and work into the egg paste with a teaspoon of water.
Add cream a little at a time, stirring into the paste to keep a smooth consistency.
Stirring or whisking briskly, add vinegar a little at a time until incorporated into the cream. Add Tabasco sauce, if using. Taste and add more vinegar if desired. Adjust seasoning.
Dressing will store in fridge for a few days, with the surface covered with plastic wrap. Whisk again just before using.

This recipe appeared in the post Dress to impress on January 22, 2015.

Have you tried this recipe?

Use the comments box below to upload comments and photos.