Boston Lettuce Salad
If you fan open a fresh Boston lettuce, the contrasts in colour and the shapes of the leaves is really interesting. It has always struck me as a bit of a shame that they are usually torn. So here are two ways of serving them intact:
Make a salad dressing from white balsamic vinegar, a little extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano leaves and torn basil leaves, salt and black pepper. The dressing can be made in advance but it is best to prepare the lettuce just before you are ready to serve.
Using a knife, remove the core from a Boston lettuce, and keeping the lettuce intact, rinse in a sink filled with cold water. Turn it upside down in a colander to drain. Lay the whole lettuce in a wide, shallow dish, (preferably a black dish) and gently fan the leaves open.
Drizzle the dressing over the lettuce and garnish it with some fresh lemon zest. This salad is very beautiful as is – don’t fiddle with it. A pair of tongs work well for serving and it is not difficult to eat as the leaves are soft and can be easily folded with a fork.
You can fan the lettuce open on a plate without pouring the dressing over it. Put the dressing in a dipping bowl instead. If you lay out a number of plates of sliced cheese, or tofu, or meinjin (seitan), or meats or fish, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, guests can use whole lettuce leaves to wrap the morsels of food and then dip them in the dressing.
For those who are trying to avoid extra calories it's a really nice change. If you want to make this even more fun, serve it with several different low-calorie dipping sauces.