Mrs Wiseheart’s salad dressing
- 1/4 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 egg
- 2 Scant tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons plain flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder (or ready made Dijon)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)
- pinch salt, or to taste
- 30g butter, cut into three pieces
This dressing is in the ‘salad cream’ style. It is delicious drizzled over cos lettuce, steamed asparagus or hot-smoked trout.
NOTE: As the dressing contains egg, it must be stored in the refrigerator quite quickly after making and used within a few days. It may appear a bit of a fuss to make, but is actually quite simple, and more forgiving than a mayonnaise. It's a nice change from oil and vinegar dressings and you can adjust the sugar/mustard/salt ratio to taste. Add fresh herbs from the garden when serving or use a herb vinegar – tarragon vinegar would work well.
|Mix the vinegar with 3/4 cup of water in a jug or bowl. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl until frothy then whisk it into the vinegar mixture a little at a time.
|Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, sit a mixing bowl that is wider than the saucepan over the pan, or use a double boiler. Put the sugar, flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper (if using) into the bowl. Strain the vinegar and egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well with a balloon whisk.
Place the bowl over the saucepan, ensuring it is stable, and whisk the mixture for about 8–10 minutes, until it starts to thicken slightly. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and whisk until it melts and is fully incorporated into the dressing. Stir for another 2 minutes with a wooden spoon – the mixture should have a silky gloss and thinly coat the back of the spoon. (If you taste the dressing at this stage it may seem sharp, but it will mellow and balance as it chills. Adjust the seasoning once it has chilled.)
|COOK'S TIP – 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 [or a whisk] when off the heat. Add small lump of butter, & beat till smooth'.
|Remove the bowl from the heat and pour the dressing into a small jug or bowl to cool slightly (about 10 minutes) before covering the surface with plastic wrap or silicone paper to prevent a skin forming. Store the dressing in the refrigerator, where it will thicken to the consistency of pouring cream. Keep refrigerated until required.
|COOK'S TIP – whisking the ingredients in a double boiler should minimise the risk of the egg curdling. However, a note to 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’.