Thursday, June 15, 2006
This is my new favorite salad. The recipe in the cookbook call for individually assembled salads which are quite beautiful but a little fussy. I've also done it with hand-shredded bib lettuce in a large bowl sprinkled with herbs in the same proportion noted below. The dressing recipe makes more than double what you would need for a week's worth of dressing so consider halving or even quartering the recipe.
For the salad
4 heads Bibb lettuce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil leaves
1/2 cup House Vinagrette (see below)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Carefully cut out the core from each head of lettuce and separate the leaves, but keep each head of lettuce together; discard any tough outer leaves. Because each head of lettuce will be reassembled, the easiest way to work is with one head at a time. First, place the leaves in a bowl of cold water to refresh them and remove any dirt, then lift out and spin-dry in a salad spinner.
Place the leaves from a single head of lettuce in a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the shallots and chives, and 1 tablespoon each of the parsley, tarragon and chervil. Then toss gently with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Repeat with the remaining heads.
For each serving, arrange the outer lettuce leaves as a base on the plate and rebuild each head of lettuce, ending with the smallest, most tender leaves.
For the vinaigrette
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
Combine the mustard and vinegar in a blender and blend at medium speed for about 15 seconds. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the oil. Don't be tempted to add all the oil to the blender or the vinaigrette will become too thick. It should be very creamy.
Transfer the vinaigrette to a small bowl and, whisking constantly, slowly stream in the remaining 1 cup oil. (The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Should the vinaigrette separate, use a blender or immersion blender to re-emulsify it.)