Posts Tagged ‘little gem lettuce’

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farmstead salad aboveThis delicious combination of crunchy Fuyu persimmons and little gem lettuce combined with creamy avocado and green goddess dressing is also known as “Favorite Fall Salad.” My husband and I first tasted it last autumn in one of our favorite restaurants in the wine country–The Farmstead in Saint Helena, Calif. My husband promptly declared it to be his favorite salad ever, although a word about my husband, he tends to use superlatives, such as “best,” “greatest” and “favorite” as though he knows no subtler forms of expression. I’ve tried to replicate the salad several times, but I finally got it–at least I made a version I think tastes as good if not better than what I remember from that lunch a year ago.

In addition to the great combination of crunchy and creamy, this salad brightens a table with it’s virbrant green and orange colors. It compliments nearly any main dish, especially grilled or roasted meats. The green goddess dressing is my own version. A lot of other recipes for this dressing call for sourcream, but I think buttermilk makes a nicer, lighter version.


Ingredients to serve 4

2 bunches little gem lettuces

1-2 Fuyu persimmons, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Green goddess dressing

2-4 anchovies (from jar or can)

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise (or mayo substitute)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped

3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped crosswise

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste



Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until evenly incorporated. (Note: I like mine well-blended so there aren’t big bits of parsley, but blend to your liking.)

Tear the lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces in a large bowl. Add in the sliced persimmon and avocado. Toss with several spoonfuls of the dressing, taste and add more dressing if necessary until all the lettuce pieces are coated. Serve immediately.

Save any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Happy Fall!
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This should be called the End of Summer Salad since that’s when tomatoes–particularly heirloom varieties, are at their best. It’s really just a twist on the caprese salad, but I find goat cheese imparts a more sophisticated flavor, and keeps the focus on the tomatoes bursting with flavor at the end of the summer.

I used my favorite salad green here, which I confess, I don’t know the name of. I pick them every year from our favorite local organic U-pick farm, and even the people that run the U-pick aren’t sure of the name. I think they’re either Breen mini-romaine, Cherokee or Rouge d’Hiver–some sort of Little Gem lettuce, with dark red leaves and exceptional crunch. Maybe someone reading this post will be a lettuce expert and will solve the mystery for me once and for all.

I love that this salad takes just 5 minutes to prepare and looks fresh and festive. It’s a great addition to any meal, and looks especially good served al fresco.



1 bunch Little Gem lettuce, trimmed and washed

2 heirloom tomatoes (try mixing different varieties), sliced crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices

1 handful mixed variety cherry tomatoes, washed and halved lengthwise

Extra-virgin olive oil

Quality balsamic vinegar

Coarse-ground sea salt

Fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 cup soft goat cheese (aka chevre)

1-2 tbsp fresh basil leaves



So simple! Find a nice platter. Arrange the lettuce leaves evenly. Top with the heirloom tomato slices followed by the cherry tomato halves. Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of the olive oil over the salad, followed by 1 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the basil leaves and crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.




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