November 18, 2013
My garden is busting with beautiful lettuces right now. I’ve been on a mission this past year, sourcing all over town the prettiest, tastiest greens to grow in my garden. It’s paying off; my backyard is now home to the best tasting greens ever. Seriously, better than fine dining coast to coast, the farmers market, even any meal I’ve had in France(!)— shh…let’s keep that part quiet.
In Santa Barbara, we’re lucky enough to have year around gardens. All you foodies out there just try it, grow some lettuce. It’s so easy and rewarding. You don’t even need much space to make it happen. Lettuces are great in pots—sometimes, I feel like they get overlooked as candidates for pots (yes, this is what I think about in the middle of the night). Break out of the herb garden rut and throw some special lettuces into the mix, maybe miniature butterhead or wild arugula?
Here’s what I’m growing right now:
Green Butterhead Lettuces
Butter Crunch Butter Lettuces
Green Salad Bowl (personal favorite)
Pablo Crisp Head Lettuce (red and bright, slightly bitter)
Heirloom Lettuce: Black Seeded Simpson
Once you have those great greens growing on your porch or in your garden, show them off with this delicious, creamy dressing. It’s mustardy alternative to a Caesar that works well with crispy greens like butterhead or romaine. This makes just the right amount for a side salad for four, but easily doubles if you have a bigger crowd. It also makes for a zippy dip.
Creamy French Dressing
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Champagne vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 herbs of your choice (thyme, parsley, chive), plus more for garnish
Pinch of salt
In a shallow bowl whisk ingredients (except for salt and pepper) until incorporated. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a splash of water or lemon juice. Give it a taste it before you add the salt and pepper, then, add as needed.