Cooking From The Farmers’ Market – Butter Lettuce with Mustard Vinaigrette August 2, 2010


A few weeks ago, the folks at Williams-Sonoma were kind enough to send me a couple of their newest cookbooks to preview. All of them were wonderful – you would expect nothing less from WS. I kept going back to one title in particular, Cooking from the Farmers' Market. It's stunning and extremely well organized. Beautiful images divided into category of type of produce with tons of information about seasonality and varieties of each. I asked if I could share a few recipes with my readers and they've been kind enough to let me, so I'll be posting some of my favorites on the blog all this week. I tell you…choosing just a few to preview with you was a tough choice.

As you can see from the other posts on this blog, I'm a fan of salads. I don't think I've met one I don't like. While it's easy to pile on ingredients and make a show-stopping salad, mastering a perfect simple salad is something every cook needs to know how to do. I love this recipe because it champions just a few ingredients and focuses on great quality – you can't get away with sub-par butter lettuce when it's the only green in the salad.

This recipe also makes a wonderfully flavorful make-it-yourself dressing. I whip together my own dressings all the time and the difference in taste is striking. Once you get in the habit of doing it, you won't bother with a fridge door full of half-used bottles. The tang of the mustard, the herby brightness of the tarragon and the silky texture of the butter lettuce is sublime – gorgeous on it's own but would be an amazing accompaniment to a perfectly roasted chicken.

Stay tuned this week for two other recipes from Cooking From The Farmers' Market, new from Williams-Sonoma. You can get more information about the book, as well as purchase your own copy, here.

Butter Lettuce with Mustard Vinaigrette – makes 4 to 6 servings 

  • 2 heads butter lettuce
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian (flat-lead) parsley

– Separate the lettuce leaves. Tear the largest outer leaves in half, leaving the smaller leaves whole. Wash, rinse, and dry.

– In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste to make a dressing. Add the lettuce, chives, tarragon, and parsley and toss well. Serve immediately.


Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen Aug 2, 2010 03:08 pm

I love the crunch and yet creaminess of butterhead lettuce! It is hard to find here in the heartland.

Chris Aug 2, 2010 03:08 pm

Love of butter lettuce (check), love of mustard vinaigrettes (check, check)Simple and delicious – sold! ;)

tami h. Aug 2, 2010 08:08 pm

It took more than one trip to stores to find it here in Atlanta…and when I saw it at my regular farmers market…it certainly was not photogenic. Ended up paying way too much for it at Whole Foods but the texture and crunch of it was delicious :)
– t*

tami h. Aug 2, 2010 08:08 pm

Thanks, Chris :)
– t*

sippitysup Aug 3, 2010 08:08 am

Butter lettuce is a staple at my house. It loves to be handled simply as you did here. GREG

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Aug 3, 2010 12:08 pm

I love the simplicity of this salad. Butter lettuce is always a favorite – it’s soft silkiness is a treat. Add this perfectly balanced vinaigrette to make a wonderful pairing.

Pam @ best Cookware guide Aug 3, 2010 09:08 pm

I love William Sonoma’s cookbooks and I have this Book farmer’s market cooking and now I have to open it and make some. I love the dressing! and simplicity of salad.

The Teacher Cooks Aug 5, 2010 08:08 am

Love the ingredients in this simple salad.

Y Aug 15, 2010 09:08 pm

This looks like my kind of salad – uncomplicated ingredients (butter lettuce is a favourite of mine) and a simple dressing that allows everything on the plate to shine.

[…] mentioned butter lettuce – I hadn’t been able to get it out of my head until I found this recipe on my new favorite food blog, Running With Tweezers. So I attempted to make this salad on Saturday, […]