Mrs Wiseheart’s salad dressing


  • 1/4 cup white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Scant tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder ((or ready made Hot English or milder Dijon))
  • 30g butter, cut into three pieces


This dressing is in the 'salad cream' style – like a lighter version of a bearnaise sauce. It is delicious drizzled over cos lettuce or steamed asparagus.

NOTE: As the dressing contains egg, it should be refrigerated quite quickly after cooking. Store it in the fridge and use it within a few days. It's best made using a mixing bowl placed on top of a saucepan half-filled with simmering water, or in a double boiler. It seems like a bit of a fuss to make, but is actually quite simple, and more forgiving than a mayonnaise. It's a nice change from French-style dressings and you can adjust the sugar/mustard/salt ratio to taste, or use a herb vinegar – tarragon vinegar would work well.


Mix the vinegar with 1 cup of cold water in a jug or bowl. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl until frothy then whisk in the vinegar mixture a little at a time.
Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, put the sugar, flour, mustard powder and 1 heaped teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl that is big enough to sit over the saucepan, or use a double boiler. Add the vinegar and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Place the bowl over the saucepan, ensuring it is stable, and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the butter one piece at a time and whisk until it melts and is fully incorporated into the dressing. Stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl from the heat and pour the dressing into a small jug or bowl to cool slightly (about 10–15 minutes). Cover the surface of the dressing with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
Cook's tip – the technique of whisking the ingredients in a double boiler should minimise the risk of the egg curdling; however, a note on the original recipe says, 'If any sign of curdling, beat well with rotary beater (whisk) when off the heat. Add small lump of butter, & beat till smooth'.

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

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