Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Butter Leaf Salad with Chive Vinaigrette


My friend and I were talking the other day about how people assume salads are one of the easiest things to prepare. Au contraire. I think they are pretty difficult to get right. The beauty of this salad is in its simplicity. The butter leaf lettuce is velvety, crunchy at its base, and the perfect choice for spring. All that needs doing is a quick dress up with a sprinkling of good blue cheese and a drizzle of homemade chive vinaigrette. The leaves are beautiful left whole, which means less work for you! You could even get crazy with it and add some blueberries or mandarin oranges for an extra pop of color.

I'm in love with this vinaigrette. It's simple and elegant, combining Dijon, real maple syrup, white wine vinegar, lemon and chives. Ideally, I'd serve this salad along side some plump roasted chicken or white fish, and sit outside with a nice, crisp sauvignon blanc. There would be roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes too, a mason jar full of orange ranunculus flowers, and a homemade lavender honey ice cream for dessert with berries.

There I go again, menu planning. It's a problematic obsession. If you want to know the truth, I really served this salad on a monday night with some grilled salmon and balsamic roasted cauliflower, no dessert, no wine, and for the record that works just fine too.

Chive Vinaigrette
adapted from My Fathers Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
yield: 1/2 cup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon real Vermont maple syrup
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
big pinch of Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, fold in the chives, and season to taste with salt and pepper. You'll need a big generous pinch of each. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Butter Leaf Salad
serves 4

1 big head of butter leaf lettuce, or two smaller heads, roots removed (if attached)
Blue cheese crumbles
1 recipe chive vinaigrette

*optional, blueberries or mandarin oranges

Wash and separate the butter leaf lettuce leaves. Divide the leaves up between four salad plates. Top leaves with blue cheese crumbles and fruit, if using. Drizzle each serving with chive vinaigrette. Serve right away.


  1. This is perfect, delicious timing - I just noticed that last year's chives have grown back in my garden! Amid old dirt and dead plants, is this little bush of green chives - so, that's just like fate saying, "Try this recipe immediately!"

  2. I love salad, with my whole heart! I'm gonna have to try this vinaigrette, it looks fantastic!

  3. Any salad with blue cheese is a win in my book! Yum!