Spring Calls for Salads: Red Butter Lettuce Salad

Spring Calls for Salads: Red Butter Lettuce Salad

Maybe it’s the subliminal messaging that often shows up in the months leading up to both summer and the dreaded “bathing suit season” that makes me do it. Or maybe it’s the natural desire to eat a little lighter once the weather  heats up and the yearning to hibernate at home begins to fade. Perhaps it’s merely that the produce available at this time of year becomes increasingly, eye-poppingly beautiful and enticing. Or heck, it very well may just be that the answer is D) All of the above. But regardless of the rationale, it seems to me that when springtime rolls around, I start eating a shit ton of salads.

I start with a big, green, leafy base, add a boatload of chopped vegetables, a bit of fresh or dried fruit, something briney like olives or pickled veggies, always a scattering of soft herbs, and then I typically finish with A) something creamy and B) something crunchy. We’re talking feta or goat cheese and always avocado, plus some toasted nuts or salty pepitas. It’s a formula I use to make lunches and dinners, and it’s one that could easily be called a “kitchen sink” salad, with the massive amount of stuff I tend to incorporate. And that’s precisely why I sometimes find it *refreshing!* *rejuvenating!* and *reinvigorating!* to use a recipe created by a professional that only calls for a handful of ingredients and that I’m 100% certain will taste like gold together.

Red Butter Lettuce Salad

From: Chef Julia Sullivan of Henrietta Red
Yield: 4 portions

1 lb. Baby red butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed
16 each Cara cara orange supremes (slices)
½ cup Castelvestrano olives, pitted and quartered
½ cup Pickled turnips
½ cup Almonds, toasted in olive oil and salt
½ cup Whole grain mustard vinaigrette* (recipe follows)
to taste Salt
to taste Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients except dressing in a medium mixing bowl.

  2. Add dressing incrementally around the edge of the bowl and toss gently to combine until the salad is evenly dressed but there is no excess dressing in the bowl. Toppings will naturally fall to the bottom of the bowl.

  3. Plate in four bowls or on one platter. Distribute toppings evenly over the top of each salad.

*Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 ½ cups

1 ea. Shallot, minced
2 ea. Lemons, zested
¼ cup White wine vinegar
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Honey
4 Tbsp. Whole Grain Mustard
¼ cup EVOO
To taste EGBP
1 ea Garlic clove

  1. In a medium bowl, macerate diced shallots and lemon zest in lemon juice and vinegar for 15 minutes, with salt and a few cracks of fresh black pepper.

  2. Add honey and mustard and whisk to combine.

  3. Add extra virgin oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly to emulsify.

  4. Adjust seasoning as desired.

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