by Niki Ford
Everyone should have a salad like this up his or her sleeve. An unassuming yet surprisingly elegant tangle of asparagus ribbons and butter lettuce with a completely addictive creamy vinaigrette, it’s beyond satisfying as a first course, roast- chicken sidekick, or partner to flaked smoked trout or salmon. The dressing is delicious with little gem lettuces and baby romaine, too.
- 2 small heads red butter lettuce rough outer leaves removed
- 6 thick asparagus spears
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- 3 French breakfast radishes or other red radishes thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup chives sliced on the diagonal into 1⁄4-inch batons, for garnish
- Remove the cores from the heads of butter lettuce. Wash, dry, and tear the leaves into large pieces, leaving the smaller, inner leaves whole. Place an asparagus spear on a cutting board, hold it down at the stem, and using a peeler, peel long strips of asparagus from close to the stem through the tip until you can no longer do so. Repeat with the remaining asparagus spears. Reserve the asparagus ribbons.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Whisk in the crème fraîche, then slowly whisk in the cream. Season with a few pinches of salt.
- Place the lettuce, asparagus, and radishes in a medium bowl. Gently toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.
Photo Maren Caruso