Cheese Makers Forum FAQ Equipment part 1 Equipment part 2 History

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Russian Dressing

Russian dressing was popular for quite awhile, but has declined in popularity in the past two decades. In fact, it can be kinda difficult to find in some parts of the country, but I think there may be a mini-revival in process due to increased interest in charcuterie (where the dressing is very well paired with cold cuts and cured meats) and just plain 'do it yourself-ishness'. Making this from scratch is also more rewarding than just buying it in a bottle--the two big and dominant flavors, the flavor of the oil in the emulsion and the flavor of the red chile sauce, offer an incredibly varied palette to experiment with.

The basics behind this recipe are identical to making mayonnaise to start out. In fact, many people just use canned mayo as the base, but most mayo is either really sweet or kinda bland. I love the strong and subtle flavors that can be pulled out of home made mayo by using different oils or blends of oils. If you love the pungency of olive oil, you can start out with something resembling an aioli. If you want to add a roasted nutty flavor you can use half and half grapeseed and hazelnut oil. If you want a clean neutral flavor, use grapeseed oil completely.

Basic Mayo Recipe

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Combine the yolk, lemon juice, mustard and salt and whip with a whisk until the yolk lightens in color. At this point add a small amount of oil and whisk until completely incorporated. Add the oil a little at a time and continue to whisk till incorporated, increasing the amount of oil as you go along. Starting out small ensures that the sauce is less likely to break. For more in depth info on mayonnaise I recommend the book Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This.

Once you have your basic mayo set, then we add the ingredients to transform this into Russian dressing.

Russian Dressing
  • Basic mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of chile sauce, such as Franks Hot Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced cornichons or dill pickle
  • 1 teaspoon grated horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Add these ingredients to the mayo, mix thoroughly and refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors meld. It is quite difficult not to immediately start eating it though, and will last for about a week in the fridge.

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Cheese A Day by Jeremy Pickett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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