Looking for a winter lettuce salad recipe? Welcome! And if you’re finding this post not in winter, substitute in some summer greens and enjoy.
Since we’ve last talked over here, as you might expect, Tim and I have been spending all our spare moments in the kitchen. This weekend, we’ve tested 12 recipes in two days. I guess this is another way of saying you’re all invited over for dinner. Hope you don’t mind the complete disaster that is our living room and our dining room and everything else. We did make our bed this morning because we like to look at it, all neat and folded and inviting, to feel like we’re still civilized humans, but of course that only works if our eyes are able to avoid the pile of laundry next to it on the floor.
Friday night there were cookies—four test batches before we hit the win. This afternoon, Tim sliced a loaf of marbled einkorn rye so pretty, it took my breath away. Now, he’s in front of the stove, watching another experiment bake, and I’m giving thanks again that I get to undertake this project with him.
Writing a cookbook is daunting, I don’t know how else to say it. You come up with ideas, you buy ingredients, you test ideas. They don’t work. You test ideas. They do work. You buy more ingredients, you do more tests, you throw your hands up in the air when you think about things like budgets and regular work hours. Mostly, you feel like there’s no way you’ll be able to get it all done.
People ask you about your new project The Cookbook and you hear yourself saying things like you’re a little overwhelmed and you feel like you’re mind’s still at the stove. When you come home later, you realize you forgot to say you’re also glad. Just like when you were planning a wedding or looking for a place to rent or traveling, you know that this stressful task before you is good.
I read a poem a few months ago that stopped me in my tracks when I found it, particularly this line:
“Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second,
Then decide what to do with your time.
-Naomi Shihab Nye (from “The Art of Disappearing”)
I like it because it reminds me that in life we are always busying ourselves with something, be it holiday shopping or extra work hours or writing a cookbook. In the midst of our projects, our work feels all-important, so exhausting, like a task that will never end. We’re tired and we’re focused, and when people ask us about our days, our tasks are what pour out. But we could tumble any second, no matter how fast we’re moving. Every moment is a gift.
This winter lettuce salad, inspired by one we saw (but never tasted!) on a daily menu from Nashville’s Margot, which is one of our favorite restaurants in the city, filled up a few of our moments this month. We ate it with my brother-in-law on a Sunday afternoon at our table, dishes in the sink and lists on the fridge. It features seasonal greens (any winter lettuces would work); slippery, oily roasted red peppers; crumbles of tangy feta; and a rosemary garlic vinaigrette. I want to remember it as a way we lived this month, in and amongst a busy schedule, before Christmas came.
Winter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Peppers and Feta
The only tricky thing about this recipe is roasting the bell pepper ahead of time, but even that’s pretty mindless if you simple halve and seed the pepper the day before, oil it and place it on a baking sheet, and then put it in a 375F oven until the skin is black on the outside and the pepper is super soft. Once cooled, the skins will peel right off, leaving pure gold roasted peppers underneath. Oh! and also, about the winter greens: Use whatever you like. We hodge-podged everything left from our farmer for the week, but any winter greens would do.
- 8 cups (about 200g) chopped winter greens, any tough stems removed
- 3/4 cup sliced roasted peppers (from about 1 large or 2 small peppers)
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic, roasted, mashed, and chopped
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- salt to taste (about 3 pinches)
- In a large bowl, combine chopped lettuce, sliced peppers, and crumbled feta.
- In a bowl or mason jar, combine dressing ingredients and stir/blend or shake the covered jar to combine.
- Pour dressing over salad. Toss everything together. Add salt to taste—for me, that was about three five-finger pinches.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.