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Green Herb Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

In many Mediterranean countries, fresh herbs are used as primary salad ingredients. Herbs are appreciated for the complex flavor and refreshing taste they bring to a salad. Parsley, cilantro, chervil, arugula and mint are commonly used this way. Fresh oregano and thyme might be added in smaller quantities. You may use only a single herb or a mixture. Do not use woody-stemmed herbs such as rosemary or sage. Before tossing, the dressing and salad can stand for up to 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated
      and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh chervil sprigs

Directions:

In the bottom of a salad bowl, combine the olive oil and shallot. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well with a fork. Top with the lettuce, parsley, cilantro and chervil. When ready to serve, toss well. Mound the salad in individual bowls or on plates. Serves 4.

Variation: To enrich the dressing, add a little Maytag, Stilton, Gorgonzola or other blue-veined cheese along with the vinegar, coarsely mashing it with a fork. Serve the salad after a main course, accompanied with a sliver of the cheese and some walnuts.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Salad, by Georgeanne Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2001).