cream-based salad dressing

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Hi everyone,

I've mastered the basics of making a vinegrette and would like to get a grip on the basics of cream based salad dressings. Do you have to start the base via a roux (pasta sauce) or moreso an emulsion (mayonaise) method?

Best,

Randy
 
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Never a roux for a cold salad. 

By cream based do you mean something like creme-fraiche or sour cream -- Green Goddess or Roquefort for instance?  Or, are you talking about something like a German style milk dressing?

For some "creamy" dressings, dairy and mayonnaise are mixed -- as for Russian and Ranch dressings. 

BDL
 
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Or, are you talking about something like a German style milk dressing?
BDL
What's that, bdl?  I have a recipe from fannie farmer's cookbook for a cole slaw dressing that is based on milk - you cook milk, an egg, butter or oil, flour, mustard, sugar and vinegar and it thickens and is really the best cole slaw dressing i've ever had.  I like to put seeds like dill or fennel in it.  Or is this german milk dressing something else?
 
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Siduri,

Nothing that complicated.
  • 1/4 cup milk or 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 tbs grated onion.
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs sugar
BDL
 
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That sounds bizarre.  What do you put it on, lettuce?  You just mix the stuff together and it sort of clabbers?  i assume there's salt, right? 

A Hungarian friend brought me with her once to Hungary for a few days and we were invited by her sister for dinner - they had yellow stringbeans with some sort of sauce that tasted like it might be something like that - sweet and milky - is that what it;s for, cooked vegetables?  Just curious.  I'm thinking lettuce salad would be strange with clabbered milk, but who knows.   
 
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Siduri last time I was at a German restaurant I was presented with this milk dressing.  It's not as strange as it sounds but it's not creamy at all.  I had it in a cucumber salad with dill.  It's not bad.

For a creamy dressing you would want to start with your basic vinegraitte dressing and then whisk in mayonaise, sour cream, creme fraiche, or even yogurt to get that creaminess.  I like a combo of both mayo and sour cream.
 
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If cukes in a German rest, I think it was sour cream with onion which waters down quickly but retains some of its flavor. In France this is used and sometime called A La Smitane' it is sometime mixed with a bit of mayo or creme' fraich.
 
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Only sauce I can think of that is served cold and made with a roux is a Sauce Chaud Froid  which is used for cold decoration of food items.
 
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Siduri last time I was at a German restaurant I was presented with this milk dressing.  It's not as strange as it sounds but it's not creamy at all.  I had it in a cucumber salad with dill.  It's not bad.

For a creamy dressing you would want to start with your basic vinegraitte dressing and then whisk in mayonaise, sour cream, creme fraiche, or even yogurt to get that creaminess.  I like a combo of both mayo and sour cream.
Koukouvagia, you should try this cooked dressing for cole slaw.  It's special.  I do it by eye, couple of tbsp vinegar, couple of tbsp flour, tbsp sugar, maybe 1/4 cup oil, maybe 3/4 milk, an egg and a bit of salt, pepper, mustard, and seeds if you like them: mustard, dill, fennel, whatever, though not necessary.  Cook till thick.  I've actually made this for Italians (who would normally recoil at anything with milk or sugar with anything like salad) and they loved it. 
 
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If cukes in a German rest, I think it was sour cream with onion which waters down quickly but retains some of its flavor. In France this is used and sometime called A La Smitane' it is sometime mixed with a bit of mayo or creme' fraich.

 Nope, it was milk as was listed on the menu.  The germans I was dining with concurred.
 
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Ed -- I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. 

Siduri -- No, it's a mild sweet and sour, neither clabbered nor salty.  I would have said so.  Limited experience (friends, one girl-friend, a couple or three restaurants), and only with soft lettuces (like butter lettuce), and once with a green bean salad.    

Koukouvagia -- Same, same probably, only yours was with dill instead of onion.  Left to my own devices, I would have gone more the way Ed described with creme fraiche (actually crema fresa) or sour cream, sugar, dill and a touch of horseradish -- which is fairly generic Baltic.  But I can see the charm of the milk dressing with the cucumbers. 

Ed -- Back to you my brother.  Smitane is something entirely different.  It's a veloute or brown sauce finished with sour cream.  Not a great choice for a cucumber salad.

BDL
 
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according to Henri Pellaprat:

Smitane Sauce (Russian)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

dash salt

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup sour cream

lemon juice

Cook onions in butter until they are limp. Add salt and wine and cook until wine is reduced to 1/4 cup. Add sour cream. heat but do not boil. Add lemon juice to taste. Use with meats and vegetables.

I was taught that in the manner of smitane, was to finish with a predominance of sour cream.
 
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For a cold creamy salad dressing, an easy "go to" is:

Half soured cream

half cream

S&P

Squeeze of lemon to taste.

Mix.

Enjoy.

Goes with lots of things, as in, potato, cabbage, radish, tomato, cucumber, pickled herings, pickled cukes..the list is endless.  Maybe it's not as complex as others above, but it works for me if I'm in a mad rush.  Also, it stays nice and creamy.  Add some dill if liked.  Can replace the cream with mayo for a change.  I sometimes throw in some chopped garlic chives - now that one is nice.
 
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Simply get creative, but always remind the simple basic structure; something creamy or a mix of creamy and more liquid combined with an acid to freshen the salad up and seasoning of course.

I improvised this dressing last week for a lunch. Simply playing around with things that were in the fridge; mascarpone mixed with a tbsp of cream to loosen the mascarpone a bit, a good dash of Japanese rice vinegar until the right degree of acidity I wanted, and some chopped parcely, p&s. Just the right structure to make a nice quenelle. Also very yummie! I could have made it more liquid by adding much more cream, but I chose not to, as you can see, some dishes don't need to swim in sauces. A salad needs to look clean and very fresh, oh, and appetizing.

You could do something similar with just some lightly beaten cream, lemonjuice, fresh herbs, p&s and some lemonzeste grated on top. I mean, just get creative and experiment.

 
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