I recently took my wife out for dinner at one of our favorite little French restaurants. Among the many delicious foods we ate was a butter lettuce salad. It was one of the simplest, most delicious salads I've ever had, so I took some notes and then set out to recreate it at home.

Photo: CC--kerryj.comSalad ingredients:
Butter leaf lettuce
Apple, thinly sliced
Goat cheese, crumbled
Candied walnuts
Mandarin orange slices
Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing ingredients:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing directions:
Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil. Once the ingredients are well-mixed, slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.

In place of a whisk, I sometimes like to use a blender or a food processor and simply pureé all of the ingredients until smooth. Either way makes a good dressing.

Salad directions:
Thoroughly wash and dry the lettuce leaves. If the leaves are large, tear them into large pieces and place into a bowl. If the leaves are small enough, you may use them whole. Toss the leaves with a bit of the dressing.

Cut slices from a nice, sweet, crisp apple, such as a Braeburn or a Fuji apple, and add four slices to each bowl.

Crumble goat cheese over the lettuce and apples.

Add a few candied walnuts and a few skies of mandarin orange.

Serve.

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