Spring salads! The easiest way to breathe new life into a menu is to update the salads. So it’s out with the pear and pomegranate starter that was so popular during the Winter and in with the berries and baby lettuces. This a very pretty salad for Easter or for Mother’s Day too. Be sure to use sweet ripe strawberries. If the berries are as sour as the Greek yogurt dressing then there’s no contrast.
Bibb lettuce is also called Butter lettuce, Butterhead and Boston lettuce and can often be found grown hydroponically at the market. I take off the outer dark green leaves and just use the light green to yellow. If you’re using baby Butterhead then figure one per person, the larger heads can easily be enough for 2-3 people or more depending on appetite.
- Herb Dressing (Makes extra, you can store for one week and sometimes longer)
- 3 cups Labni Cheese made with Kefir or Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (dending on the tanginess of the yogurt you might want more)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, mashed and minced (Use the blade of a knife to smash this with salt and it turns in a juicy paste)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 large Bibb lettuce, leafed and cleaned dark green leaves discarded
- 4-5 ripe red strawberries, hulled & sliced
- Chives and Fresh Dill for garnish
For the Herb Dressing: mix all of the ingredients together. Taste, adjust seasoning with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. If desired add a little water – lebni can be quite thick if using.
A note about lebni: do not buy the store bought version if is has other ingredients besides culture and dairy. Sometimes commercial versions add xanathan gum, gelatin and extra whey which gives the product a grainy gummy texture. If you can't find lebni or labneh in its simplest form (milk, cream, kefir culture) then use Greek yogurt – I prefer Strauss non-fat Greek yogurt.
Toss the Bibb lettuce leaves with a few tablespoons of the Herb Dressing. Plate with larger leaves on the bottom piling up to the light green small ones on the top. Sprinkle strawberries and fresh herbs all around. Enjoy!