For salad or mixed salad, the French usually prepare French salad or mixed salad dressing by stirring mustard, 2/3 oil and 1/3 vinegar, changing or mixing oils (may it be olive, colza, sunflower…) and vinegars (balsamic, red wine, sherry or raspberry…).
This recipe uses a different dressing, sweet and sour as it contains lime and honey, and of course a bit of olive oil. I was inspired by one of French great 3 stars chefs, Alain Passard. Running the Arpège restaurant just a few meters from the charming Rodin museum in the heart of Paris, this chef loves to cook vegetables.
He makes short videos (in French) in his restaurant kitchen explaining, with sparkling eyes of both sweetness and emotion, the recipe of the day, inspired by the produces that have just arrived, or the guests he is waiting for. His simplicity, his creativity and his enthusiasm are is just incredible.
He learned the taste of “good food” from his grandmother and her great aunt. When he was young, he use to prepare potato salad and made many tests by offering each time a new version with new ingredients.
Alain Passard today combines both cooking and gardening “passion–job” (I love that concept, “passion-job” !!!). He grows vegetables in order to tell a story from seed to plate. L’Arpège restaurant is delivered daily with fresh seasonal vegetables from his two gardens, one in Sarthe region with a sandy soil and the other in the Eure region with a clay soil. He also have an orchard in Mont Saint Michel bay and hives. He describes his vegetable kitchen as a “permanent discovery through the seasons,” an “adventure in which we are never disappointed because it is generous and gives emotion.”
I adapted his sweet and sour emulsion served with beetroot, adjusting ingredients and proportions according to my taste. You can either prepare this sauce as a dressing (as in the photo of this recipe) or use a blender for a smoother emulsified result (but then it is better to double quantities so that the blender will work better, and reserve remaining dressing for another dish). Hence both proposals below.
I propose this dressing with grated carrots and raisins as at home grated carrots are always served with raisins, and sometimes small pieces of dried apricot. My kids love that. Feel free to accommodate by adding other vegetables of your choice (finely chopped fresh onion, red beet…).