Dressing for Spring
By Angela Denstad Stigeler
It can be difficult knowing how to dress this time of year: will you need a heavy coat or can you just toss on something shear? Believe it or not, your salad is asking the same question. I say, as there will be plenty of time this summer for all those slick and racy vinaigrettes, keep these first tender lettuces of spring cozy in a cream dressing.
This dressing, which Jacques Pepin attributes to his mother, is incredibly easy to prepare and clings nicely to every leaf. If you’re not serving a crowd, spoon some of the dressing into a small jar after whisking it together and save it for later use before adding in your greens. While most flattering to tender lettuces, this dressing will nicely robe any sort of green salad and is a cinch to accessorize. Sliced avocado and hard-boiled egg would go well here. You could even toss in a few fresh berries or late-season citrus segments, if you prefer. But whatever the weather, you’ll find this a perfect dressing for spring.
Baby Lettuces with Cream Dressing
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons canola oil
8-10 cups baby lettuces, or other tender salad greens, such as Bibb, oak leaf or Boston lettuce
Wash the lettuce, being careful not to bruise the leaves, tearing any large leaves into bite-sized pieces, and dry thoroughly.
In a large bowl, combine the salt, white pepper, vinegar and cream. Beat with a whisk for about 20 seconds. The mixture should be foamy and creamy in consistency; it will thicken as you beat it. Add the oil and mix with a spoon to blend.
At serving time, toss the lettuce gently in the dressing.
Recipe adapted from Essential Pepin, by Jacques Pepin.