Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

Any butterhead lettuce (like Boston Bibb) works in this enticing dish

Things go better with butter. Even lettuce (trust us).

This dish is perfect for entertaining. Because the flavor and texture are sensational – and it’s a real conversation starter.

Discuss among yourselves.



Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

Recipe: Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

You can use any type of lettuce you like in this salad. But it’s best when made with one of the leafy butterhead varieties (that is, butter, Bibb, or Boston Bibb). There are subtle differences among these various butterheads, but they can be used interchangeably. The type you’re most likely to see in markets is Boston Bibb, so that’s what we’re using.

We first saw this recipe years ago in the late, lamented Gourmet magazine. We forgot about it until recently, when we spotted the recipe while browsing through The Gourmet Cookbook (the big yellow volume edited by Ruth Reichl). We were excited to rediscover the dish, and it has become a frequent visitor to our table.

This recipe takes about 10 to 15 minutes for prep and assembly.

 It makes 4 first-course servings.

Ingredients
  • ~8 ounces Boston Bibb lettuce (1 large head; see Notes)
  • ½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt to taste (a few pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste (a few grinds for us)
  • garnish of hard-boiled egg slices, cherry tomatoes, and/or prosciutto slices (optional)
Procedure
  1. Separate the lettuce leaves. Then wash, dry, and chill them. An hour before serving, remove the lettuce from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature (the lettuce can’t be cold when you make this salad; if it is, the butter will congeal on the leaves – very unappetizing).
  2. When you’re ready to make the salad, place the lettuce leaves in a heat-proof bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Peel the garlic clove (if using), cut it in half, and add it to the butter. Simmer the garlic clove in the butter for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the garlic clove and discard it. Add the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk for a minute to combine – the mixture should be light and frothy.
  4. Add the butter mixture to the lettuce, then toss to combine. Divide the lettuce among individual serving plates. Garnish, if you wish, and serve.
Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

Notes
  • Boston Bibb usually features larger heads than other varieties of butterhead lettuce. So one large head of Boston Bibb might equal two to four heads of another variety. Go by weight and be prepared to adjust quantities. With that said, exact quantiles aren’t critical with this recipe.
  • Butter and lemon provide much of the flavor in this dish. So use high-quality butter. You might want to consider buying one of those “European” style butters.
  • Make sure to use fresh lemon juice – its flavor is much better than bottled, or even frozen.
  • Speaking of lemon juice, feel free to adjust the quantity to taste. 
  • We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the flakes are larger, so it doesn’t pack a measure as tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
  • You can serve this salad without garnish, but we usually add it. We like to use slices of hard-boiled egg and cherry tomatoes. Slices of prosciutto or ham are also terrific in this salad. Croutons would work nicely, too.
Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad

Butterheads

“Holy butterballs, Batman,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This is delish.”

“You’re going through that salad like a hot knife through butter,” I said.

“Well, you greased the fork with this one,” said Mrs K R. “It’s melting away like butter in the sun.”

“Aw, shucks,” I said. “You’re just trying to butter me up.”

“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “So you’ll make this dish again, my little lettuce leaf.”

Mrs K R. Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

You may also enjoy reading about:
French-Style Braised Lettuce and PEas
Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad
Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with HOt Bacon Dressing
Green Goddess Dip, Dressing, and Sauce
Or check out the index for more

72 comments:

Anne in the kitchen said...

This sound pretty good. I will have to try it one day before too long. We also cut romaine lettuce in half, coat the cut half with olive oil and plop it on the grill for a couple of minutes. The cut edge chars and with a little blue cheese, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar it is really tasty.

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen said...

Butter is pretty much my life but I've never added it to a salad before. Clearly I've been missing out! I need to try this one ASAP!

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

This recipe got my attention. I would have never thought to put hot butter on salads. I am making it tonight with my leftover vegetable soup.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Anne, romaine is wonderful to grill! Love it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Kelsie, you really do need to try this! Really good -- you'll like. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Gerlilnde, it's a neat salad! I thought the butter was odd the first time I saw this, too, but it works extremely well. Thanks for the comment.

Eva Taylor said...

What an interesting salad, loving the use of butter. I also love to cook the garlic so that it isn’t overwhelming, otherwise it can ruin a salad. Boston Bibb is on of my favourite lettuces.
I read Anne in the kitchen’s comment, we love to grill romaine oe wven iceberg lettuce, sooooo good!
Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Eva, this is a fun dish -- and incredibly tasty. Make it once, you'll make it often. And I've had grilled romaine on my "to blog" list for years now -- maybe next summer I'll finally get around to it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Evelyne CulturEatz said...

Buttered salad? I neveer heard of such a thing. Nor have I ever heard specifically about butterhead lettuce. What a lettuce expert you are. I am SUPER intrigued by this recipe, will try it.

All That I'm Eating said...

This sounds like a delicious idea and I've not tried anything similar before so I'll need to give this a try!

Angie Schneider said...

Simple and delicious...butter and eggs...way to go!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Evelyne, you HAVE to try this! SO GOOD! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Caroline, this is pretty unusual -- and so worth trying. And then serving to your friends -- they'll be amazed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Angie, yup, butter and eggs. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Pam said...

Simple and delicious - perfect!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Pam, yup. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Tricia said...

Well this is just fascinating! How would have thought you could butter your lettuce. Love your beautiful eggs - perfectly cooked too. Thanks for enlightening me with this stunning dish :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Tricia, hard-boiled eggs always look great, don't they? Terrific garnish on a salad like this! Thanks for the comment.

Dahn Boquist said...

I love this and have to try it. It reminds me a bit of a hot bacon dressing so heck, why not hot butter!? YUM!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Dahn, same concept as hot bacon dressing, although obviously a different fat. It's good! Thanks for the comment.

Family Spice said...

This is fascinating! You always share the most interesting recipes. Never thought butter and lettuce would go together, but now I have to try it!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Laura, bet you'll love this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Liz Berg said...

This would be perfect to serve my dinner club! Definitely a conversation starter!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Liz, they'll talk about this one! In a good way, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Deb|EastofEdenCooking said...

I've heard about this salad recipe, but never thought to actually try it. Now I know it's a winner I'll give it a try.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Deb, I think you'll like this -- really tasty and unusual. :-) Thanks for the comment.

sherry said...

this is a very interesting idea. butter on a butter lettuce? i'm thinking it might be tricky here in sunny brisbane: all that melting and cooling and stuff. You've gotta be careful here as butter can melt just sitting on the bench in the sun:) cheers S

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Sherry, melted is perfect! Try it, you'll like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Merryn G said...

Butter makes it better, end of story. Still, it is a brilliant idea to get enough garlic flavour in the butter without overpowering it and this would definitely melt in your mouth.

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

This is so interesting, I have to give it a try. And isn't butter lettuce just the best?

HWC Magazine said...

Now this would be a win win recipe for all the keto dieters out there. Vegetables, eggs and grass fed butter. You gotta love that! Low carb and lovely.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Merryn, butter definitely does make things better. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Lea Ann, butter lettuce is terrific! Good flavor, love the texture and shape of its leaves. Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Bobbi, I hadn't thought of this in terms of a keto diet, but you're right! :-) Thanks for the comment.

mimi rippee said...

Well, this isn't much different than olive oil coating lettuce leaves, so I get it! Can't wait to try!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Mimi, definitely different. :-) And definitely delish! Thanks for the comment.

Unknown said...

Why can't I print this?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Wow! How did this one get past me? I've never heard of it. Can't wait to try it!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Unknown, because we don't have a recipe plug-in for printing! Because we haven't found one that we like that works on our blogging software. And because the Notes are an important part of our recipes, and no recipe plug-ins really accommodate them. You'll have to print the 20th century way -- copy, paste into a word processing-type document, and print. A pain, and we're sorry for that, but if you want to print, that's the easiest way. Or just use your phone or chromebook in the kitchen -- that's what we do, and that's the 21st century way. :-) Thanks for reading and taking time to ask the question.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jean, you'll love this! Really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Ron said...

John, this recalls a country version of this I had as a youngster. It used bacon grease instead of butter and iceberg lettuce instead of bib. I like your gourmetized version and must give it a try.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Ron, we do the bacon version, too. That's particularly nice with spinach! Thanks for the comment.

Juliana said...

Hi John, what an amazing butter sauce for the salad...looks delicious with a hint of garlic...I can only imagine the flavor of this sauce. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I hope you are having a great week!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Juliana, this is such a nice dish -- SO flavorful! Thanks for the comment.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Oh, how we miss Gourmet Magazine. Sigh. Thank you for bringing this recipe back. I never have had it but will soon, for sure! Butter is, after all, a food group.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi David, butter is definitely a food group! At least around our house. :-) Thanks for the comment.

valentina maria kenney wein said...

I'm excited about this recipe. My husband's birthday is tomorrow and the whole family is coming for brunch. I'm adding this to the menu. I've never had butter with lettuce. Fun! I'll report back. :-)

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

What an interesting and intriguing salad!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Valentina, Happy Birthday to your husband! And enjoy this -- it's really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Amy, isn't this fun? Kinda different. :-) Thanks for the comment.

handmade by amalia said...

This is different! And sounds yummy. Though I would probably put the butter on the piece of bread I would have with the salad :-)
Amalia
xo

Jeff said...

How have I gotten this far in life without ever hearing that you could put butter on lettuce! AAAArgggg! It sounds amazing.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Amalia, butter on bread would be the traditional way of deploying it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jeff, it IS amazing. You need to make this -- you have lots of lost time to make up. :-) Thanks for the comment.

GiGi Eats said...

Bibb/Butter Lettuce = MY FAVORITE!! Seriously my favorite over ALL OVER lettuce/leafy greens! So this - THIS RIGHT HERE is a salad I would loveeeee!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi GiGi, butter lettuce is really good, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

valentina maria kenney wein said...

It was delicious! A bit pressed for time, I used my Kerrygold garlic-herb butter which I'm guessing might be similar to adding the garlic. I also tossed everything together as it was a buffet, though I was tempted to plate each one as you did. Everyone loved it! Love trying new things in the kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Valentina, great butter choice! I haven't tried that in this salad, but it sounds ideal. SO glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for letting me know. :-)

Denise Browning said...

Such a simple yet cozy and delicious looking salad!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Denis, it's an excellent dish! :-) Thanks for the comment.

mjskit said...

Don't you love it when an old recipe pops up. I happen to have a few Gourmets from the 80's in the bookcase and now you have me wanting to go through them. This recipe is awesome. I can see this being served with homegrown tomatoes and a grilled steak.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi MJ, homegrown tomatoes and steak! Perfect companions to this salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Dawn Yucuis said...

This is an interesting recipe. I am a butter lover, so I think this salad is something I would love. I need to try it.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Dawn, you really DO need to try this -- it's wonderful! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Fran @ Gday Souffle said...

The title for this recipe is certainly a mouthful- butter lettuce topped with butter- a double whammy! I've never heard of Boston Bibb lettuce before- must check it out!

Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons said...

What a simple and amazing salad, John! That garlicky butter sounds sublime! :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Fran, this was a fun title to come up with! Fits the dish, though, no? :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Anne, this is definitely your kind of dish! And yes, the dressing is amazing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Simone said...

It's funny as I was looking at the photo and thinking; is that actually a recipe? But really interesting with adding the butter to the lettuce. Will definitely be trying that soon! Thanks John!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Simone, this barely qualifies as a recipe, I think. But it's really good, and rather unusual. Thanks for the comment.

Emma @ Bake Then Eat said...

I have never heard of this before, but I have a weakness for butter so I think I would really like it.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Emma, this is a wonderful recipe -- tons of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.