The Inside Word on Salads from chef Damien Pignolet
Thousands of people have eaten the salads of Sydney chef Damien Pignolet, at his Sydney restaurants Claude’s and Bistro Moncur but also well before that at dinner parties he hosted in Melbourne in the 1970s. “It was around 1971 when I developed my way of making a dressing,” he says. Pignolet’s French dressing is made in the bowl that he’s going to serve the salad in.
Smash a clove of garlic with your fist and rub it around the bowl; that’s it for garlic. Add salt and pepper to the bowl.
Think about the quantity of leaves you’ll be using. “You should barely see the presence of the oil on the leaves, it’s a film at the most. So, for two people you only want one-and-a-half tablespoons of dressing,” he says.
Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard – this helps bind the dressing.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of vinegar, perhaps a mixture of balsamic and red wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar and lemon juice.
Mix it with a whisk or a spoon and then taste it. “Touch the dressing with a teaspoon and then wipe it on across your tongue so you taste it properly,” he says.
If making ahead, put salad servers in the bottom of the bowl, the lettuce on top of the servers, then cover the salad and put it in the fridge, ready for tossing at the last minute.
See more advice from great chefs here.
This salad goes beautifully with:
And is the perfect side to my Spanish Tortilla inspired by MoVida’s Frank Camorra.