It's about the time of year when I start missing missing summer produce—when I grow a bit bored of butternut squash and wonder if there are any other fruits out there aside from apples. The solution to this late fall, early winter produce ennui comes in the form of salads, preferably those with particularly bright and fresh ingredients and even sharper, more exciting dressings. At the risk of getting overly excited about a simple salad, this Butter Lettuce Salad with Tarragon and Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette from Eric Ripert's Avec Eric was about as close to a summer salad as I could get in late November. Lemon and lime juices are emulsified with honey, Dijon, and canola oil, tossed with Boston lettuce, and finished with a shower of chopped tarragon. The ingredients don't really lend themselves to a specific season, but all together they're like a blast of sunshine on a gray, chilly day.
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 heads butter lettuce (also known as Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce)
- 1/2 cup cut fresh tarragon leaves
Whisk the lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, honey, and mustard in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil while whisking constantly until completely emulsified.
Trim off the core from each head of lettuce and separate the leaves, discarding the tough outer leaves. Rinse the lettuce leaves in a bowl of cold water and spin dry. Place the lettuce leaves in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the tarragon leaves and gently toss the lettuce with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly.
Stack the lettuce leaves on 4 plates, starting each stack with the large outer leaves on the bottom and ending with the small inner leaves on top. Serve immediately.