Fried Walnut and Butter Lettuce Salad.

About salad.  It’s delicious.   Another positive, it’s really, really good for you.  Leafy dark greens, earthy buttery lettuce that’s tender, soft and everything fresh and right in the world.  Now take all that, and add cheese.  Deep fried nuts, a little lemon zest.  Bacon if you’re feeling ambitious.  Oh god! is what you might be saying.  You’re ruining a salad, you’re taking a healthy thing and loading it down with fat, with flavor, with cheese.

Well, yes.  Guilty as charged.  But now ask, why?  What do all these things do?  Take a simple bed of greens, and by balancing the creamy, the crunchy and the citrusy notes, you deepen the flavor profile and create and exponentially better salad.

This Fried Walnut and Butter Lettuce Salad is remarkably tasty, yet amazingly simple.  The secret is in the perfect play between the warm dressing, the thinly sliced sweet onions, the goat cheese and the lemon zest.  All the details, coupled with a perfect canvas of delicate butter or Bibb lettuce makes a great salad.  Add in walnuts, fried and toasted in olive oil, and well…it’s perfect.  It needs no change.  Get your hands away from the salad bowl, put the tongs down and step away.  It’s absolutely complete, nothing else is necessary.  If somebody—a devious, porcine-pusher with no respect for vegetables and light spring eating—procured a little bacon and offered it up, perfectly crisped, crumbled and begging to be added to the salad, I would refuse.  Sorry bacon.

Blasphemous.  But what can I do?  I’ve found the dish that needs no bacon.  It’s taken 20 years, but it’s happened.  True, after this little excursion, I may be bacon-tired, but I don’t think that’s the case.  It’s this salad.  It’s perfect.

Just remember the lemon zest and the warmed dressing with walnut oil.  And the cheese and the shaved onions.  Oh yea, and the fried walnuts.

Recipe on the following page.

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