It’s easy to associate salads with spring and summer menus, when the farmers’ markets and our gardens are full of fresh vegetables and leafy greens. But I like to serve salads year round, and there’s no reason you can’t find fresh, organic vegetables for your table even in January.
Last November, I catered a couple of business meetings. This salad was a result of one of them. It accompanied Beef Bourguignon and a parsnip-turnip purée, followed by a frozen chocolate mousse. With those rich items on the menu, it was good to have light salad. (And I’ll post those recipes later.)
Butter Lettuce Salad
1 head butter lettuce
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
2 ounces Rogue River blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
2 lemons, juiced (or about ¼ cup juice)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chop lettuce into bite size pieces. Rinse lettuce 2 or 3 times to remove all the grit. Dry lettuce either in a salad spinner or using tea towels.
Combine vinaigrette ingredients until blended.
In a large bowl, toss the greens with half of the vinaigrette. (The last thing you want is an overdressed, soggy salad.) Taste the greens to see if the amount of dressing is to your liking, then adjust accordingly. Plate the salads, then sprinkle on blue cheese crumbles and grape halves. Top with hazelnuts and serve.
Here’s a link to another winter salad I posted three years ago.