Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For a Luxurious Lettuce Salad, You Need 3 Things; by Elizabeth Karmel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For a Luxurious Lettuce Salad, You Need 3 Things; by Elizabeth Karmel

Article excerpt

Byline: The Associated Press

How often have you tossed the dinner salad? And, I am not talking about tossing it with dressing.

If I had a nickel for every time that I've seen the salad bowl left untouched and droopy at the end of the night tossed into the trash can, well, I would have a lot of nickels.

This fact is understandable as it is difficult to make a dinner salad that is as appealing as the main course. (And, I'm not talking about the delicious main-course salads and decadent wedges dressed with rich blue cheese and crisp bacon bits that are enthusiastically eaten.)

My solution to this common problem is to make a simple salad that compliments the other dishes instead of making a salad that is an afterthought and misses the mark.

My recipe is tied to my long-standing love affair with the simple French "salade verte" (green salad). Whenever I am in France, I order a salade verte with everything that I eat. It is a simple salad traditionally made with butter lettuce (sometimes called Boston lettuce) and a mustard-rich perfectly emulsified vinaigrette dressing. The perfect emulsion makes it creamy and it clings lightly to the lettuce, accenting the sweet delicate leaves with just the right amount of tang.

I can't get enough of the soft sweet lettuce and the perfectly emulsified dressing. It sounds weird, but this is a salad that I actually crave. The only downside is that the dressing is difficult to duplicate and sadly, these days even in France there are cafes using bottled dressing instead of the homemade vinaigrette. Luckily, my version of this green salad doesn't rely on making a perfect vinaigrette to dress it.

Before I created my Luxurious Lettuce Salad, I spent years perfecting my vinaigrette so that I could make my favorite French salad at home. But more often than I care to admit, my salads fell short of my memory of the great salade verte. Then one day I spotted a favorite bottle of olive oil and it helped me, quite accidently, create my perfect dinner salad.

I was in my local grocery store perusing the shelves to see if anything new had been added and I recognized one of my favorite olive oils from Italyit had previously not been available in the U. …

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