Lettuce Entertain you….

16 Jan

This recipe comes from Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead (2014). I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa. I own every cookbook she has published, tape her Food Network show every week, and had the pleasure of seeing and hearing her story when she made a live appearance in Minneapolis a couple years ago.  Expect to see more of her recipes in the weeks ahead!

This recipe’s presentation is pretty impressive. And it’s as good as it looks! Interestingly I have steered clear of iceberg lettuce in recent years – opting instead for romaine or spring mix. Iceberg lettuce seemed so boring – so reminiscent of my childhood when my mother whacked an iceberg lettuce in wedges, threw it on a plate and passed around store-bought dressings.

I was wrong. Not only is the presentation of sliced rounds of lettuce striking, the lettuce stayed crispy and flavorful under the dressing and accoutrements. Not a blue cheese lover (I wasn’t either once upon a time)? Use your favorite dressing; keep the toppings and presentation!

Crunchy Iceberg Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese

For the dressing:

4 ounces Roquefort bleu cheese, crumbled

⅔ cup good mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s or Best Foods

⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

4 tender inside celery stalks, trimmed and slice crosswise ¼ inch thick

6 radishes, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

5 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts sliced ¼ inch thick

1 large head iceberg lettuce, wilted outer leaves removed

4 to 6 ounces Roquefort blue cheese, crumbled

Fleur de sel, pepper

For the dressing, place 4 ounces of blue cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 15 seconds, until it begins to melt. Place the mayonnaise, yogurt, warm blue cheese, sherry vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad, combine the celery, radishes and scallions in a bowl. Slice the whole head of lettuce across to make four ¼-inch thick round disks and place each on a dinner plate. Spoon the dressing on the lettuce and sprinkle on a quarter of the vegetable mixture. Distribute the remaining crumbled blue cheese on the salads, sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper, and serve.

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