I fully believe one kitchen skill everyone should have is a salad they know how to make without hesitation. Ideally it’s versatile enough that it can go with all sorts of foods and served for all sorts of occasions...like the little black dress of salads!
For me, at this moment, in this very summer this salad is that salad. With crisp butter lettuce, ripe tomatoes, toasted breadcrumbs, lots of herbs, crumbly sweet blue cheese, it is a total winner.
The combination of flavors is all that delicious-ness you get in an iceberg wedge salad but with just a bit more freshness and elegance — like the iceberg wedge went to finishing school!
It’s topped with a vinegar-y shallot vinaigrette that is a staple in our family. My French stepmother is to credit for the recipe and now each of us has adapted it (adding in honey, making it with balsamic vinegar, blending it!) to our personal preference. My version is bright and zippy and loaded with a ton of shallots (like you’re going to think it’s wayyyy too many) but I promise it pairs perfectly with this salad.
I’ve been testing (errr, tasting) this because it’s one of the new recipes we’ll be sharing in our August Cooking Club virtual cooking class along with these delicious Corn and Potato Chowder-ed Clams and a few other fabulous summer flavors. I’m loving hosting virtual #CookingClub with @holajalapeno and hope to see you at the next one!
But back to this salad -- here are a few things to make it marvelous every single time:
No, seriously, a lot of this can be done ahead of time. Make the shallot vinaigrette up to 1 week ahead of time and store it refrigerated in a nonreactive (i.e. glass or stainless steel) airtight container until ready to use. Feel free to toast the breadcrumbs, snip the chives, and crumble the cheese the morning before you plan to serve the salad. You could also prepare the lettuce ahead -- as in wash it and dry it -- so all you have to do is put it all on a plate before you serve it!
Now get in the kitchen and share the results with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!
cleaned, separated into leaves, and dried
(gluten free to make the dish gluten free)
To Make The Shallot Vinaigrette: Start making the shallot vinaigrette by combining the shallots and red wine vinegar in a nonreactive (glass or stainless steel) bowl. Set it aside about 5 to 10 minutes until the shallots start to turn a little brighter pink (this helps to mellow any harshness and bring out their best flavor)!
Once the shallots are ready, whisk in the mustard and add a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the oil into the bowl in a thin stream until well incorporated. Taste the dressing by dipping a leaf of butter lettuce in it then add some sugar and more salt or pepper as desired.
Vingaigrette can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store refrigerated in an airtight nonreactive container until ready to use.
To Assemble The Salad: Arrange the butter lettuce leaves on a platter then scatter the remaining ingredients -- the halved tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, chives, and breadcrumbs on top.
Garnish with a pinch of good sea salt, drizzle with a few generous spoonfuls of the shallot vinaigrette and serve immediately, passing the additional vinaigrette on the side.
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