Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Versatile Salad Dressing

September 21, 2017 by General Administrator
It’s always useful to know how to make good salad dressings. Here is one from Alexandre Dumas, son of the Alexandre Dumas who wrote The Three Mustakeers. Our Alexandre Dumas, the autor of our salad dressing, also wrote La Dame aux Camélias, which provided the plot for Verdi’s opera La Traviata. So there you have it!
 
Alexandre Dumas’ Salad Dressing
 
Dumas recommended serving this on a potato salad (with beetroot, sliced celery and truffles). I think it’s excellent on a simple green salad. It will also be good on a dish of lightly cooked French beans. You don’t need to use all of the ingredients Dumas recommends—you can leave out the chervil, or the tuna, for instance—and it will still be tasty. You can toss it yourself. When he says ‘the mustard of Maille’ he is referring to a particular make of Dijon mustard which is, in fact, still available, but you can use any sort of French mustard that you have to hand. You’ll see that he doesn’t use measurements, aside from stipulating the number of hard-cooked eggs, which should make you feel bold and free to experiment.
‘Into the my salad bowl I put one hard-cooked egg yolk for every two persons; six egg yolks for a dozen guests. These I mash with oil to form a paste, to which I add: chervil, [tinned] tuna, anchovies, the mustard of Maille, a large spoonful of soya sauce, chopped gherkins, and the chopped white of the eggs. I thin this mixture with the best vinegar I can procure. Finally I put the salad back in the bowl; I have my servant toss it. Over the tossed salad I sprinkle a pinch of paprika, that is, Hungarian red pepper.’
 
Recipe from Alexandre Dumas, Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine (Paris, 1873).
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