When I was little we often visited family friends Ivo and Jacqueline. Jacqueline was very French and in her home we were treated to homemade French cuisine.
Every meal at her house had multiple courses. The salad came second to last just before the cheese course, and her salad was my favorite. She prepared the dressing right into a wooden bowl and the tossed the butter lettuce in on top. The leaves on the bottom would marinate in the dressing, with the dijon deliciousness soaking into the leaves, the lettuce on top staying untouched by the dressing. She always prepared the salad before we sat down to dine but would only toss it just before serving- letting it sit and settle for the duration of our hours long dining experience.
I often think of Jacqueline and I have always remembered that salad. This is how I came up with the recipe and the name. Recently I asked my Mom about her recollection of Jacqueline’s salad. After taking a few trips down memory lane this is what I came up with. I know it can’t be exactly how she prepared it, but it is very close and makes me think of her every time the garlicky dijon butter leaves cross my lips.
So, let’s make Salade A La Jacqueline!
1TBSP Dijon Mustard
3 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Fresh Lemon
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Garlic (3-6 fresh cloves)
Butter Lettuce (3-4 ounces)
Prepare the dressing just as Jacqueline did, right in the salad bowl. If you don’t have a big wooden salad bowl now is a good time to take the plunge and buy one. I like using a wooden spoon too. Start with the dijon mustard and juice from one lemon, stir it around using the lemon juice to break down the dijon mustard until the texture is smooth and free of clumps. Next add olive oil, and stir it up until it has blended well with the lemony dijon. I like this salad to be heavy on the garlic so I add in more than most would (about 6 cloves). Finely chop your fresh garlic cloves, add them to the dressing, and then hit it with some fresh ground black pepper. Stir it all up together until it is mixed very well. Throw in your butter lettuce leaves. I cover the salad bowl with cellophane and leave it on the counter top. Let it sit throughout the remainder of the time you are prepping the rest of dinner.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous serve it last with fresh salad bowls so that all you taste is the delicious flavors of this simple yet sophisticated green salad. Be sure to wait for tossing it all together until just before serving. The longer the leaves on the bottom rest in the dressing the better it will taste.
Yum. Vive La France!