Parisian Dinner Party: Butter Lettuce Salad with Cucumbers and Pickled Shallot
This recipe is part of a series about throwing a dinner party like a Parisian. Stay tuned all week to see how the entire soirée comes together.
My favorite salad in the whole world is a classic Greek salad that can you get at an old-school, New York diner. Huge hunks of salty feta, slick rolls of dolmades, grilled chicken strips, the works! It's so loaded with ingredients that my mouth jumps from flavor to flavor without a moment of rest. Typically, when I make salads at home, they too are busy. They have many ingredients, textures, and complex dressings. But not this guy, oh no. This salad is a lesson in simplicity. All you do is quickly pickle minced shallots. You then introduce the shallot to fresh butter lettuce. You drizzle some oil. You sprinkle some salt. Et voila! That's it. The results are marvelous; exactly what you need, nothing you don’t. The perfect balance of acid and oil.
I especially like this salad for a French meal because it is so light. Between the heavy sauces, meats, cheeses, bread, and extra wine, your guests won't have that much extra room for salad. And besides, with a table like this one- who needs it anyway?
Butter Lettuce with Pickled Shallots
1 head of butter lettuce, preferably with the roots still attached
1 English or 2 Persian cucumbers, quartered and sliced
2 large shallots, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
Rip a whole head of butter lettuce into bite-size pieces; gently and with your hands. Place it into your serving bowl. Keep the small leaves intact as they are just so cute to eat! In a separate cup or small bowl, add minced shallot, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Mix to ensure the sugar dissolves. Let the shallots marinate for 20-60 minutes. Gently pour out the excess liquid, reserving all of the minced shallots. Pour them over your prepared lettuce. Drizzle the lettuce with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt (maldon if you have), and grind fresh cracked pepper. Toss just before serving.
What are your favorite ingredients in a salad? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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