I rarely take photos in restaurants, but I had to get this snapshot during one of my lunches in Paris a few weeks ago so I could show you one of the weirder salad dressings I've eaten recently — mozzarella foam!
I'm not sure that this salad dressing would be worth pointing out for novelty alone; foams have become so popular and ubiquitous as ways for ambitious chefs to try out new textures and combinations of unexpected tastes. The surprising thing about this particular foam was how well it worked as a dressing. The salad was a beautiful heap of shaved vegetables, almonds, and greens. The dressing was this frothy, foamed mozzarella that also had hints of garlic.
It gave the entire salad the rich, creamy, umami-laden qualities of good mozzarella, and in this it went far past salads with mozzarella or other cheese simply thrown in among the greens.
This foam was so rich, in fact, that I couldn't imagine putting it on a salad every single day, but it was also so good I'm still thinking about it now. It drenched the greens — much more so than I usually like (I hate overdressed salads) — but here I didn't mind at all and ate every single bite. (I had the salad, by the way, at the very pleasant and hospitable Itinéraires.)
The experience is making me think about playing around with foams, which actually require the most basic and inexpensive equipment, unlike other tropes of molecular gastronomy. Here's one take on it:
Have you had any especially weird or unusual salad dressings lately? Any of them worth reproducing at home?
(Images: Faith Durand)