A refreshing salad is one of the loveliest ways to bring the spring season to the table. This recipe features garden-fresh radishes, cucumber, green peas, and young greens. Include cooked, peeled shrimp to create a light luncheon or supper salad. The dressing derives from England’s beloved “Salad Cream.” Eliza Acton’s recipe for “English Salad Sauce” in her Victorian cookbook Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845) was based on cream and hard-cooked egg yolks. Commercial British Salad Cream resembles mayonnaise, but it is less thick and tangier. You can take the flavor of Lemon Cream Dressing to another level by stirring in a little minced shallot, fresh chives, cayenne, Tabasco, or grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. Use only heavy cream; milk may curdle.
About 4 cups mixed fresh greens, such as arugula, watercress, sprouts, or microgreens
Fresh herbs, such as dill sprigs, flat-leaf parsley leaves, or mint
1 small hothouse cucumber, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cut in ½-inch half-moon pieces
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, cut in thin wedges or slices
1 cup shelled English peas, blanched 1 minute; or thawed, frozen green peas; or shelled, cooked edamame (soybeans)
3 small scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced
Prepare the Lemon Cream Dressing below. Combine the desired choice of salad greens. Prepare remaining vegetables. To serve, divide greens among four salad bowls or plates. Scatter the prepared vegetables on top of each portion; drizzle with the dressing. Serve at once. Makes 4 servings.
Lemon Cream Dressing
1 cup heavy cream (plus a little extra cream or half-and-half, if needed)
¼ cup whole milk sour cream or plain yogurt
2 to 2½ tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
2 dashes ground white or black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
In a clean, 2-cup Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine ingredients in the order listed. Add lid; shake 4 or 5 times to combine. Taste to adjust seasonings, if desired. Dressing can be refrigerated up to 3 days. For a thinner dressing, blend in a little extra cream or half-and-half; adjust seasonings if necessary.
Note: Lemon Cream Dressing is also delicious on avocados or garden-ripe tomatoes. If served on berries or sliced fresh fruits, you can omit the Dijon mustard, if desired.