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Butter Lettuce with Poppy Seed & Tarragon Crème Fraîche Dressing


Serves six.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

Crème fraîche gives this salad a mild tanginess that marries beautifully with butter lettuce’s delicate flavor.

  • 1 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon plus 2 Tbs. whole tarragon leaves
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 or 3 heads butter lettuce (about 12 oz. total), trimmed, washed, dried, and torn by hand into bite-size pieces (about 10 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the poppy seeds lightly in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a cool plate.

In a small bowl, combine the crème fraîche, yogurt, chopped tarragon, lemon juice, garlic, and poppy seeds. Stir in 1 or 2 Tbs. water to thin the mixture to a creamy salad-dressing consistency. Season with cayenne and salt to taste.

Just before serving, toss the butter lettuce in a large bowl with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the salad on individual serving plates, scatter the whole tarragon leaves on the top, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 60, Fat (kcal): 4.5, Fat Calories (g): 40, Saturated Fat (g): 2.5, Protein (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1, Carbohydrates (mg): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 0.5, Sodium (g): 150, Cholesterol (g): 10, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

This salad has become a favorite in our household - we really love the poppy seed dressing. We agree that it needs a little something added to it. Our favorite combination is to add toasted slivered almonds, halved grapes, and chunks of avocado. It's fantastic with these flavors in it.

Made this with a couple of friends last night, along with the sear-roasted halibut. Before we tried it, one of my friends asked, "just lettuce and nothing else?" We added a little dill and more garlic, and we all thought it was really simple, tasty and just perfect.

This was nice - it needed something else - so I added grilled asparagus, chopped up in the salad. This would also make a nice dip for grilled veg (or sauce)

The tarragon was a plus in favor, spread lightly over cold lettuce, all enjoyed it, with our grilled BB_Q.

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