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Author Notes: Coquette Cafe in MKE has a wonderful green salad with buttermilk and hazelnuts. I tried to recreate a version at home with the addition of tarragon and shallots in the dressing, sliced red pears beneath, and crunchy pink sea salt on top (this may be my favorite part). - Jennifer Ann
Food52 Review: What's great about this salad is that it combines the robust flavors of fall -- pears and hazelnuts -- with an elegant salad green -- Boston lettuce -- and a succinct and tangy buttermilk dressing. So when you eat it, there are rich bits followed by bright bits and flashes of sweetness, and the whole thing is a delight to eat. Use two small heads of lettuce and small pears. - A&M - The Editors
Fresh Tarragon Buttermilk Dressing
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1.5 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 1.5 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
- freshly ground black pepper (4-5 turns on the mill - finest setting)
- salt (3-4 turns on the mill - finest setting)
- Whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth; whisk in olive oil until well incorporated; add shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper.
Hazelnut Preparation and Salad Assembly
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 3 red pears
- 2 heads of Boston lettuce, washed and torn into medium-large sized pieces
- coarse pink or red sea salt (such as Alaea Hawaiian)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Roast hazelnuts in a single layer in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes, or until they start to lightly brown; remove from oven, and roll hazelnuts in dish towel to remove the papery skins; allow hazelnuts to cool, then coarsely chop and set aside
- Thinly slice the pears, being sure to keep a good sliver of the red peel on each slice; arrange the pears in a single layer on 4 salad plates, with the peel edges facing outward
- Toss the lettuce in about half the dressing, adding more, as necessary, to nicely coat all pieces; pile the lettuce in a tall mound on top of the pears (be sure to keep the red pear peals visible)
- Top each salad with freshly ground pepper, a small handful of the toasted hazelnuts, and a little pinch of the crunchy sea salt.
- Your Best Autumn Salad Contest Finalist!