Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bouchon - Bibb Lettuce Salad

This is a beautiful salad. Beautiful. And so easy, really. The book recipe serves 4 and calls for 4 heads of Bibb but one head looked like enough for us to split, besides that's all they had at Whole Foods. Ingredients are Bibb lettuce (what a surprise) chopped parsley, chopped chives, chopped chervil (unavailable) and chopped tarragon (ewww) and shallots (I forgot them). We ended up with chives and parsley and that worked out just fine.

First start with the lettuce:

This lovely specimen hails from a farm on Paradise Blvd! Has to be good! In Athens GA, so it's local, even better!  The idea is to deconstruct the head, clean the leaves by swishing them in cool water, spinning them to dry, and the reconstructing them to look like the lettuce head. This was as close to flower arranging as cooking but I muddled through:

You know what this reminded me of? This is kind of a long story but I'll try to make it brief. I learned to cook on the fly. I had been given kitchen experiment time in my early days, but I got thrown turbo speed into the kitchen when our Mom died. There were five or six people to feed every night after I finished my high school classes. So basically "cooking" consisted of stretching Hamburger Helper out as far as possible, those boxes of Chef Boyardee pizzas, all plopped on a plate with not even the slightest thought as to presentation.. it wasn't part of the paradigm.. feeding hungry teenagers was. Anyway, this salad reminded me of the first time I encountered presentation. I can't remember if it was a book or a TV show, but the garnish was a "tomato rose".  What you did was cut the peel from a tomato in one spiral shaped piece and then rearrange it so that it looked JUST LIKE a rose! (My teenage OMG! emphasis there).  It changed my life. Haven't seen tomato roses around in say twenty+ years but I'll never forget how eye opening they were to me.

On with the salad. You chop some herbs, and I think you can use just about any spring herb you want. The book has you season everything and then arrange the leaves but since I was only doing one, I reversed that order.  Also I did not use the vinaigrette, I used another Bouchon approved dressing which is simply a drizzle of oil, a tiny pinch of salt and a drizzle of vinegar. In this case Fig Balsamic. (Vinegar fetish has replaced the ceramic fetish I fear).

And since Eat it Atlanta just did a gnocchi post, I had gnocchi on the brain. I also had a few things I needed to use up in the fridge. Mushrooms, scallions and for a little color, tomato confit, and the gnocchi in my freezer.

Brown those up in a skillet just enough to soften:

Then heat some butter in a non-non stick skillet and toss your gnocchi around until browned:

Add the mushrooms, scallions and tomatoes and toss together to blend.

Yum!!! I served this with a grilled chicken breast. Nice Sunday supper, pretty quick and easy. Hope you'll try it sometime.

See you soon!

1 comment:

  1. TRY FIGHTING FOR FOOD AGAINST 7 other kids lol.