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Fast Food My Way: Greens with Quick Cream Dressing

Jacques Pépin says this was one of his mother's favorite dressings for a green salad or haricots verts. I was intrigued by his statement that the cream contains half the calories of the oil in a conventional dressing, since the very words "heavy cream" scream calories to me. It's true, though: 1 tablespoon of heavy cream contains 60 calories, while 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories. But how does the dressing taste?

Well, it's pretty good. The cream gives it a nice mouthfeel, and it's very easy to make. The only danger is in overbeating the cream so that it becomes too thick. I did this without even thinking about it -- a few too many seconds of whisking, and you're on your way to whipped cream. The dressing thinned out easily with the addition of a few teaspoons of water, so no harm done.

Pépin says that he often uses this dressing as a sauce for poached fish, with the addition of herbs and/or grated horseradish. I'd try it with herbs for salad dressing as well, since it's a very basic dressing otherwise. Parsley, chives, chervil, or tarragon would all be nice additions.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: about 1/2 cup dressing

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

About 8 cups loosely packed greens, such as baby romaine, mâche, or Boston lettuce, washed and dried

Just before serving, put the cream, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl and whip with a whisk for about 15 seconds, or just until frothy (if the dressing gets too thick, thin it out with a bit of water). Stir in the vinegar. Add the lettuce, toss briefly, and serve immediately.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.