You’ve Gotta Make This. Trust Me.
I’ve been making this salad for years. Every time I make it my son will remind me this is his very favorite green salad. For good reason. It’s unlike any other salad I make and I’ve never eaten anything else to which I could compare it. It’s unique.
Heavy cream is heated with minced anchovies, garlic, a pinch of hot pepper flakes, and a little black pepper. After letting it steep for 10 minutes, it is left to cool and then a couple teaspoons of really good red wine vinegar is whisked in. The cream is thick and luscious at this point.
I always use the best and freshest soft lettuce I can find when I make this salad. In this case, I used 2 heads of pretty green and purple baby lettuce. I toss the lettuce leaves with parsley leaves, spoon on the rich anchovy-garlic cream and then drizzle on about 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil *. Toasted pine nuts and snipped chives finish it off.
There’s hardly any need to describe how this tastes. I think it is exactly as you’d imagine. There are enough anchovies so that you can definitely detect their flavor, but not enough to overpower the garlic and cream. Then the nuttiness of the hazelnut oil and the pine nuts round out all the other flavors.
I never add any other vegetables to this salad. I keep it simple with only salad greens because I think they highlight the dressing best. And I most always serve it with a simple grilled steak or lamb chop. It’s a perfect meal.
This is one of those situations where I’ve changed the recipe so completely from its origin that it no longer resembles that recipe. But I want to acknowledge that my inspiration came from Carla Lalli Music’s original recipe.
I want to mention the vinegar I used. If you’ve never tried Banyuls vinegar, I highly recommend you do so. It’s a staple in my kitchen. It is made from sweet Banyuls wine and is mellower and a little sweeter than other red wine vinegars. This particular bottle came to me via T.J. Robinson (no relation), who owns a company called Fresh Pressed Olive Oil. His company provides fresh pressed artisanal olive oils and artisanal vinegars. The olive oils he offers change with the seasons and the same goes for the vinegars. He sent me a sampling of both and asked for my honest opinion. No strings attached.
Well, to say I am impressed is an understatement. These are the kinds of olive oils you could easily lap up by the spoonful. The best of the best. And the same goes for the vinegars. I’ve always purchased a particular brand of Banyuls vinegar, but the one he sent me is even better. He also sent me one of my favorites – calamansi vinegar and it is also superb. I can’t rave about the quality more highly. You can check out his company at www.freshpressedoliveoil.com . Or click here for a direct link to the vinegars I mentioned. I’m not the only one impressed by his products. Milk Street and others have also endorsed his offerings.