Butterhead Lettuce with Spring Radishes and Peas with White Balsamic Dressing Recipe
This is a “knife and fork” salad with a “creamy”-style dressing. Think of it as a flavorful, more sophisticated spring version of the truck stop favorite iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing. The white balsamic dressing is a staple at the restaurant. Since the recipe makes more dressing than you need, consider sharing some with friends or use it as dip for raw vegetables.
What to buy: White balsamic vinegar is processed differently than regular balsamic vinegar, where the vinegar “must” is caramelized during processing, thus producing a rich, golden color. White balsamic is used for aesthetic reasons, so as not to color sauces and dressings. White wine vinegar or champagne vinegar can be substituted.
For the white balsamic dressing:
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
For the salad:
- 1/4 pound snow or snap peas, cleaned
- 1/4 pound English peas, removed from pod
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces white balsamic dressing
- 2 heads butterhead or other head lettuce such as Bibb or Boston
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Mix together the olive oil and vegetable oil. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whip attachment, combine the egg yolks, shallot, salt, and pepper. On the medium speed whip the egg mixture and then slowly add half the oil mixture, a little at a time. When the mixture begins to resemble a thick mayonnaise add a little vinegar. Continue slowly adding oil and then vinegar until all the liquids have been fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Makes approximately 2 cups.)
For the salad:
- Fill a large stainless steel pot 3/4 full with salted water and bring to boil. Add the snow peas and cook until tender. Plunge the peas into an ice-water bath. When cold, drain and pat dry. Repeat the process with the English peas and reserve.
- In a large bowl, combine both peas and radishes. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle two tablespoons of dressing over and toss until well combined and the vegetables are evenly covered.
- In the center of each plate, place half a head of butterhead lettuce. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over lettuce. Place peas and radishes over lettuce and sprinkle almonds on top and around. Serve with additional dressing and additional fresh cracked black pepper.
The creamy-style dressing, buttery lettuce, and almonds sing out for a rich, creamy Chardonnay with nutty flavors and a juicy finish. Recommended: 2001 Hamilton Russell, Walker Bay, Chardonnay, Overberg, South Africa; or 2001 Landmark, Overlook, Chardonnay, Sonoma, California.
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