The thrill of cutting real heads of lettuce from our hoop house in April cannot be overstated. Head lettuce in these parts is a phenomenon of early June if we’re lucky. So when trials staff started bringing in compact, beautiful, vibrant heads of lettuce for us to take home, I was first in line.

This recipe is about as simple as it gets and it’s all about the lettuce. Don’t be afraid of this dressing- it doesn’t curdle and the cream and lemon combination is light and springy and delicious. This would be perfect with wild salmon and roasted potatoes. It also would make a great lunch with the addition of some hard boiled eggs- especially with those spring-bright yolks!

Spring Lettuces with Meyer lemon and Cream Dressing
- Adapted from Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin

  • 6 T. heavy cream
  • 4 t. Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 small heads lettuce, leaves washed and dried and torn into pieces – I used red and green oak leaf (Oscarde and Emerald oak)
  • Salt and pepper to taste – I used about ½ t. each
  • Crushed, roasted hazelnuts

Whisk cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper together. Keep whisking until the mixture is frothy and thick. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Toss lettuces with dressing, top with roasted hazelnuts and serve immediately. This salad does not keep well once dressed so make sure you’re ready to serve it before tossing with the dressing.