This is a classic French Leaf Salad you'll find in bistros all across France, known for the use of lots of fresh herbs with a simple dressing. Light and clean, intended to be served alongside rich foods like Quiche Lorraine, Beef bourguignon and Coq au Vin that French food is known for. Though French, it will suit any Western food - and beyond!Use this recipe as more of a guide rather than exact recipe to be followed. Switch the leafy greens, use herbs you enjoy, crack open a jar of something pickled. Just make sure to use LOTS of fresh herbs!
Course: Side Salad
Cuisine: French, Western
Keyword: bibb lettuce salad, Butter lettuce salad, French salad, Fresh herb salad, green oak lettuce salad, Leaf salad
Servings: 4- 6 people
1/2big head green oak or butter/bibb lettuce(about 8 big handfuls - but don't crush the leaves to measure!)
1baby cos/romaine lettuce
1/2cupchives, cut into 3cm / 1 1/2" lengths
1/2cupwalnuts, roughly chopped then toasted and cooled (optional, Note 1)
Quick Pickled Eschalots:
2eschalots(aka French onion, US: shallots), finely sliced
2/3cupred or white wine vinegar
5tbspextra virgin olive oil
1/2tspeach salt and pepper
Quick Pickled Eschalots: Stir sugar in vinegar until dissolved. Stir in eschalots, then leave for 30 minutes until it becomes floppy and turns pink. Drain.
Dressing: Shake Dressing in a jar.
Assemble: Pile lettuce on a platter (flatter better than deep bowl). Drizzle with about 1/2 the Dressing then toss gently with your hands. Scatter over fresh herbs, pickled eschalots and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with more Dressing. Serve immediately!
. Walnuts - to toast, place in a dry skillet over medium heat and shake/stir for 2 minutes until it smells nutty. Remove from skillet immediately, cool, then use.2. Salad ingredients:
Lettuce - typically, a French Bistro Salad will include a softer lettuce (Bibb/butter or green oak) plus a lessor amount of a crisper one (in this case baby cos lettuce/romaine).
Herbs - use any fresh soft herbs you want, the combination I've used is fairly common. The use of tarragon makes it particularly French. Dill, chervil and basil are especially excellent alternatives.
Eschalots - a scattering of something pickled is common. For a speedy option, just use something out of a jar, finely sliced if it's big like a pickle, or scattering of capers.
Walnuts - optional here, or sub with another nut like almonds, macadamias, pistachios, cashews. Or pepitas or sunflower seeds. YUM.