Fresh ingredients lend themselves to this French Laundry Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette and it is amazing!
While I include a lot of salads in my meal plans, I seldom think to include recipes for them here. They are most often the result of opening the fridge and grabbing a bit of this or that and whipping together a simple salad dressing. I keep a couple of prepared products on hand too for a really quick meal; I love an orange poppyseed dressing from Safeway’s private label and another brand’s raspberry vinaigrette. My proclivity for greens with fruit shows in the dressings I prefer too.
Occasionally though I see something I want to make that uses fresh garden veggies and I was taken with this salad and the dressing from the moment my eyes met the page with an issue of Food & Wine magazine from 2016. I am SO far behind with my reading but so very glad I kept this one around. The French Laundry restaurant in Napa is renown so having a recipe bestowed in those pages from the proprietor Thomas Keller was like a gift. One he didn’t even have to wrap!
While the salad components sounded wonderful; they would also have required that I source a lot of ingredients I did not have on hand. Considering that it’s the end of summer and I have so many fresh ingredients in my fridge, I substituted pretty freely. I’ve included Chef Keller’s recipe list of ingredients but use your judgement and do the same…not much can go wrong. I used romaine, endive, zucchini, homegrown cherry tomatoes, some grilled carrots, sugar snap peas, red onion, and both parsley and basil from my herb garden.
The fresh ingredients were certainly a great beginning but it’s this dressing that is so stellar. Recipes are funny sometimes. There is nothing so special in the list of ingredients and yet the end result is perfection. I’ve made so many salad dressings over the years and yet not one quite like this. Dijon mustard, garlic, balsamic vinegar, shallots, olive oil…nothing all that unique. The raw egg yolk certainly makes for a smooth, rich consistency and I urge you to try it. It can be left out but the result will lose some of the richness of flavor that makes it over the top wonderful.
Don’t limit this French Laundry Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette to summer; the flavor of the dressing would be great with any number of veggies…I’m thinking some roasted squash would be a great fall addition. Use your imagination and go crazy! Take a trip to California wine country without leaving your home kitchen; you won’t regret it; promise.
French Laundry Summer Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
For the Dressing
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the Salad
- 12 breakfast radishes
- 12 ounces radicchio, leaves torn into large pieces
- 8 ounces small tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small red endive, leaves separated
- 5 ounces baby zucchini, halved
- 4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved if large
- 3 ounces baby carrots, halved lengthwise
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 8 thin asparagus spears, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 ounce baby arugula (2 cups)
- Kosher salt
- Mixed herbs, such as basil and chervil, for garnish
Make the vinaigrette
- In a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients with 2 tablespoons of water.
- With the machine on, drizzle in both oils until incorporated. For a thinner vinaigrette, stir in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the salad
- In a bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.
- Garnish with herbs and serve with more dressing on the side; reserve the remaining dressing for another salad.
If you prefer, you can eliminate the raw egg or substitute it with a pasteurized egg product.
Since this does have raw egg, the shelf life is short. The vinegar and salt will offer some preservation but this dressing should be used within 5-7 days after making.