Kids in the Kitchen: Lettuce and Herb Salad

There are kitchen tasks for kids of every age, and it is fun to work together; the group effort is rewarded by good things to eat.

| August/September 1995

Serves 4 to 6

If you don’t grow your own baby lettuces, use whatever tender young heads you can find at the grocery store or market—Boston, green or red leaf, and Romaine lettuces and small spinach leaves are good choices. Salad herbs that appeal to kids include dill, fennel, chervil, chives, lemon basil, and parsley. Johnny-jump-ups, borage blossoms, daylily petals, and fennel flowers make interesting garnishes. My children eat this salad plain, without any dressing.

  • 6 cups lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup herb sprigs or leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 large carrot, grated or cut into curls with a vegetable peeler
  • Edible flowers for garnish (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 11/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or raspberry vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch sugar (optional)

1. Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Scatter the herbs and carrot curls on top. Arrange the flowers on the salad, if desired. At this point, you may cover the salad with damp paper towels and refrigerate it for as long as an hour.

2. Pour the oil into a jar that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and a little pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if you like. Screw on the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously until the dressing is mixed well.

3. Open the jar, and dip a piece of lettuce in the dressing to taste it. Add a little more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if desired.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss it well, and serve immediately, or pass the salad and dressing separately and let each diner dress his or her own.

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