Butter Lettuce Salad with Anchovy Cream - Turntable Kitchen
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Butter Lettuce Salad with Anchovy Cream

Spring Lettuces with Anchovy Cream recipe

There are certain foods that are quite polarizing: oysters, olives, licorice, and anchovies. And while I have a very strong dislike of licorice, the others are some of my favorite things. I’m generally a sweet person: always opt for pancakes and waffles over omelets and the like. But I love, love salty little nibbles.

When Carla Lalli Music’s Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook landed on my desk, I have to say I had “the moment.” The truth is, I have a lot of cookbooks, but there is a small selection that feel like they’re literally habit-altering. Good to the Grain changed the way I bake on a very fundamental level (incorporating more whole grains). Dining In changed how I make buttermilk biscuits (I’ll never go back) and treat fruit and vegetables. Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian changed my approach to pizza dough. I could go on.

But today, let me share with you one recipe that — albeit simple — I think you need to add to your repertoire. The fact remains that most salads are boring. And most lettuce is wilted. Most salad dressings are only mediocre.

Spring Lettuces with Anchovy Cream recipe

I ask you to behold the Butter Lettuce Salad with Anchovy Cream. Delicate, crunchy lettuce, dressed in salty, creamy, dressing, topped with crunchy nuts and, my addition: plenty of extra anchovies in oil.

There are many other recipes in the book that I believe are habit-changers: her rotisserie-style roasted chicken, baked directly on the rack, dripping juices into a baking sheet of potatoes below. And her gingered cucumbers (another recipe I hope to share soon).

All that’s to say: regardless whether it’s spring, summer, or early fall: if you’re able to get your hands on some beautiful lettuce, you must make this salad, pronto. Also, I ran with Carla’s approach of sticking with whatever’s fresh and swapped in fresh basil for parsley. I have to say that the results were truly phenomenal.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Anchovy Cream
adapted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook

2/3 cup of heavy cream
2 oil packed anchovy fillets, plus more, for salad topping
Handful of fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
Few handfuls of walnuts
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of roughly chopped basil
3 cups of roughly torn butter lettuce leaves (or any kind of super fresh baby lettuces)
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
Maldon salt, for servin

1. Combine the cream, anchovy fillets, basil, garlic, a pinch of salt, and ground pepper in a small pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
2. Add the walnuts and olive oil to a small skillet and cook, occasionally tossing with a wooden, until golden and toasty-smelling. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and roughly chop them. Season with salt and toss with chopped basil.
3. Remove the basil leaves from the cream, then use a fork to mash the anchovies and garlic into the cream. Season with more salt and pepper, as needed.
4. Add the lettuce to a large salad bowl. Toss with the vinegar and some flaky salt. Generoulsy spoon the dressing over the lettuces. Top with toasted walnuts and a few more anchovy fillets. Eat straight away.