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. This French Laundry Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette is different. It was planned and has to be shared.
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 in 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 proprietor Thomas Keller was like a gift. One he didn’t even have to wrap! While they are renown for Keller’s expertise and certainly a location in Napa doesn’t hurt, I love that I can make this at home…that’s truly where my heart is.
The original salad components sounded wonderful but using them 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 the list of ingredients that Chef Keller uses for their French Laundry Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette 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 the dressing that is so stellar. Recipes are funny sometimes. There really is nothing so special in the list of ingredients for this dressing and yet the end result is almost magical; truly the sign of a great chef and his knowledge.
I’ve made so many salad dressings over the years and yet not one quite like this Mustard Vinaigrette.
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.
I know raw egg is a concern for some but I simply wash the outside of the shell with warm water and detergent before breaking it. It might not be scientific but I feel more confident after doing it! Raw eggs are also critical with the French Silk Pie; sometimes substitutions leave a lot to be lacking.
If you can find pasteurized eggs, that’s probably your safest bet.
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; I promise.
PIN IT! ‘French Laundry Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette’
French Laundry 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
- ½ 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.