The little lettuces and tiny beet plants are way too thick in my garden. So I pulled up several handfuls with my fingertips and brought them into the kitchen. I washed them and cut away the roots. Already the white lettuce stems and red beet stems are telling me that it is almost the Fourth of July.
I picked a few dill fronds, too, and placed them in a mortar and pestle with a tablespoon of olive oil that I ordered from La Tienda when I made paella earlier this month. I crushed the dill into the olive oil, just enough to release the scent. Then I pulled out the stems of the dill, leaving behind the fragrant, now bruised leaves.
Into the olive oil/dill mixture, I added 1 tablespoon each of mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk. I whisked the mixture and then added a quarter cup of Heinz cider vinegar. (Next time I will drop the vinegar back to two tablespoons and try rice vinegar instead.) I whisked the dressing again, after adding the vinegar. There is a lot of tanginess going on here, so I used sugar in the next step to soften the tartness of the dressing.
Then I tossed a cup and a half of fruit, some sliced, with a tablespoon of sugar. I used red grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. (Remember, this is going to be a Fourth of July salad.) I let the sugar and berries macerate about ten minutes.
The Little Lettuces Fourth of July Salad, with red and blue fruit, was served in square white bowls with a grind of fresh pepper. All in all, the lettuces, beet greens, and dill had been less than an hour from having been picked and washed. This amount made two servings, but the quantity of dressing was generous and could have dressed more greens.
Ah, what a tasty and colorful salad for celebrating this Fourth of July.
Wanda Hayes Eichler