April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing

By • April 6, 2012 51 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.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Condiments|Salads|Olive Oil

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Comments (51) Questions (3)


about 1 month ago robin lewis

I think 'fatty' cheeses are recommended in the notes to this recipe, but I don't see any ideas anywhere in any comments...what kind do you think would work? (Feta goes nicely with lemon, but it's not really a 'fatty'cheese, and I'm not picturing any other kind off the top of my head...)


about 1 month ago Katie Hornstein

Has anyone made this a day ahead? How did the favors hold up?


3 months ago Anna

Made this the other night. It was delicious. Just the right amount of mustard and lemon juice. Loved adding lemon segments! I used a red leafy lettuce with a couple of cherry tomatoes and slices of avocado.


5 months ago Caroline Cooks

Hi Julianna, After I remove the rind and segment the lemon there is still juice. Just squeeze the whole thing with your hand to release the juice that remains. Have a look at the slide show above. There is a picture of it. Hope this helps, Carolien


5 months ago julianna kapp

Unless there is another meaning for "membrane" ( the skin in between the segments) I don't understand how you get juice from these.????


7 months ago Gilliwinks

I used whole grain Dijon mustard and it was amazing.


7 months ago Tracy

I love your website! I am making this for tonight. I wondered if I should use regular lemons or Meyers? I have both on hand. Thank you


8 months ago Caroline Cooks

I made this for a dinner party last night and tossed it simply with butter lettuce like the photo. Very snazzy.


8 months ago betty888

This is delicious. I used the juice of two lemons, rather than the segments, and replaced the superfine sugar with agave, as that's what I had on hand. My guests commented on how good it was, without any prompting, so that's a good sign. :)


about 1 year ago Martha

where is the slide show?


about 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

It's still there! What are you trying to view it on, a computer or a tablet or phone?


about 1 year ago Martha



over 1 year ago Mira Moore

This was delicious! I didn't have time to segment the lemons, so I just squeezed them and it turned out fine :)


over 1 year ago Margie

A wonderful and bright dressing! Thanks so much


over 1 year ago Jenny

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


over 1 year 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!


over 1 year ago Judi

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


over 1 year ago Magoo

Could you use this to dress pasta?


over 1 year ago Kate

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


almost 2 years ago Dianecpa

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


almost 2 years 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 :)


almost 2 years 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.


almost 2 years ago suzygregory

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


almost 2 years 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!


almost 2 years 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.