This is a fine example of simply prepared ingredients combined to great effect.
- For the salad
- 1 head butter lettuce (may substitute 2 small heads Boston lettuce, each cut in half)
- For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the toast
- 4 square thin slices white or whole-wheat bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- For assembly
- Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
For the salad: Cut the lettuce into quarters, but keep each quarter attached at the bottom so that its leaves stay together. Wash lettuce well and dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a clean towel. Place lettuce in the refrigerator to chill and get really crisp, for at least 20 minutes.
For the dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, white wine vinegar and lemon zest in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the toast: Line a large plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Cut the crusts off the bread slices. Place a large skillet over medium heat; add the butter, oil and garlic; cook for about a minutes, stirring so the cloves flavor the mixture. When it is hot, add all bread slices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to the paper towels to blot any excess oil; cover loosely to keep warm. (If this is done in batches, coating the bread evenly will be difficult.)
To serve, place the butter lettuce quarters in a bowl and toss gently together with the creamy dressing. Place a warm slice of garlic toast on each plate and then carefully lay a lettuce quarter on top. Garnish with chopped chives and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if using.
Adapted from "Simply Bishop's: Easy Seasonal Recipes," by John Bishop and Dennis Green (Douglas and McIntyre, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.