April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing

By • April 6, 2012 • 33 Comments


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Author Notes: At first glance, this is a shockingly brash dressing. April Bloomfield uses not just lemon juice, but whole lemon segments, and more mustard than could possibly seem like a good idea. But she also knows about restraint, and adds just enough addictive nips of caper and shallot to keep you going, and gentler undercurrents of lemon juice, salt, and sugar. At The Spotted Pig, she serves it with a fried pig's ear salad, but salads with other fatty meats, cheeses or avocado work too. Bloomfield says finely chopped parsley is a nice addition. Adapted very slightly from A Girl and Her Pig (Ecco, 2012)Genius Recipes

Makes about 1 cup

  • 2 medium lemons
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (choose one whose flavor you like on its own -- we used Maille)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon or another flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Segment the lemons over a bowl to catch the juices (see note below). Set aside.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into a separate bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir well.
  3. Add the lemon segments and toss gently to coat them without breaking them up. Use straightaway or chill in the fridge, covered, for up to an hour.
  4. Note: To segment the lemons: Use a sharp knife to cut off just enough of the fruit's top and bottom to expose a full circle of the flesh on either end. Stand the lemon on one of its ends, place your knife point at the seam where the fruit meets the pith, and use a gentle sawing motion to cut away a wide strip of pith and skin, following the curve of the fruit from top to bottom. Repeat the process until all you have left is a nice, round, naked fruit. If you've missed any white pith, trim it off. Make a cut down either side of each segment, right against the membrane, and gently pry out each segment, one at a time (see slideshow). Flick out any seeds, and set the segments aside in a bowl, reserving the juicy membranes.

Comments (33) Questions (3)

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about 1 month ago Jenny

I omitted the sugar and added a couple of anchovies to deepen the flavors. Addictive!

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3 months ago Sherry in Union, KY

This is a very good dressing. I used liquid Stevia in place of sugar. My husband,who is not much of a mustard fan, enjoyed it too. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

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3 months ago Judi

What wine would you serve with this lemony dressing for the salad course?

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5 months ago Magoo

Could you use this to dress pasta?

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5 months ago Kate

I think it'd probably work well. Let us know if you try it!

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5 months ago Dianecpa

It kept a couple days in the frig in a jar! delicious!

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6 months ago suzygregory

I don't see the shallot-chopping trick that Kate mentioned in the comments or the recipe...where is it hiding? Always looking for new ways to do things :)

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6 months ago fhp

Look through all the demonstration photos....and towards the end you'll see how to mince a shallot with a pairing knife. I gotta say this dressing sounds kicky. I bet its nice with poached salmon.

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6 months ago suzygregory

Thanks fhp! I just went through them...I have some salmon in my future :)

Junechamp

6 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Mmmmmm mmmm. Making a steak dinner this weekend for a special friend's b'day. This is going to be the dressing for the salad. It's absolutely thrilling!

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7 months ago Kate

I never knew that shallot-chopping trick! Nice! Oh, and the dressing is pretty great, too. Added parsley and served with butter lettuce and avocado.

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11 months ago clintonhillbilly

This is a wonderful dressing. Had it last night over sauteed asparagus with sliced hard boiled eggs, and integrated into a new recipe: http://food52.com/recipes...

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3 months ago Sherry in Union, KY

It's funny that you had this with hard boiled eggs, because as I ate my salad, I found myself craving eggs.

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about 1 year ago SarahM

This is heavenly on a chopped salad with fresh tofu, toasted walnuts, diced celery. Would have thrown in radishes, too, if I'd had them on hand.

Stringio

over 1 year ago Nikki Werner

Genius indeed. Dressed butter lettuce leaves with this zingy dressing and served as a side to confit pork belly. SO good.

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over 1 year ago Regine

Yes, squeeze the juice out of the membrane; but I don't know how much juice would come out. But you can also do like me, skip the segmenting process and just use 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice combined with with 1 tsp grated lemon zest.

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over 1 year ago suzygregory

Are you squeezing the juice out of the membranes left after removing intact segments? If so, how much juice do you think is coming out of the membranes...1 or 2 T.???

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over 1 year ago Pradagirl47

add a few cloves of garlic and it is perfect

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over 1 year ago jmnookin

Love, love, love. THis has become my favorite dressing. I make a batch and use it for a week on salad. I've made it without the segmenting process as well as with it -- it's better with, but it's good both ways.

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over 1 year ago fhp

If you love this dressing try to apply the same flavoring to your next tuna salad. Olive oil packed tuna with mustard, capers, lemon juice and dijon is a delicious alternative to mayonnaise and celery. I always serve as a plated compose Nicoise.

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almost 2 years ago amyeik

So delicious. Every time I come home from work and peek towards my raised bed, I think..."Yummy dressing...and oh, yeah, spinach." I love my spinach now, but let me tell you, I love this recipe more. BTW, Don't fret about segments and whatnot, just add some lemony-ness via zest, via juice. A note, though, pulp is what makes it so don't go too long without not trying the segment process...

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almost 2 years ago ConnieLeAir

Omg! Artichokes, salmon, asparagus, broccoli, ham egg salad sandwich. Making this tomorrow for girls night! Thanks for sharing!

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almost 2 years ago Regine

This is so delicious. I made it again but to make the preparation easier, I skipped the lemon segments and just used as a substitute 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice combined with 1 tsp grated lemon zest. This was spectacular as well. I then tossed 1 lb of haricots verts (I bought the frozen ones from Whole Foods and cooked them according to the microwave instructions) with some of the dressing and added about about 1/2 cup each (or to taste) dried cranberries and slivered almonds. You can eat this warmed, cold, or at room temperature. Even my 7 year old who is not to crazy about haricots verts loved it. Really wonderful! The dressing is good too of course in salads and drizzled on salmon. I can even lick the spoon containing the dressing.

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about 2 years ago msmely

It seems obvious, but this is absolutely decadent with smoked salmon on a salad.