Boston Greens with Tarragon Buttermilk Dressing, Red Pears, and ToastedĀ Hazelnuts

October  4, 2022
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  • 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
  1. Fresh Tarragon Buttermilk Dressing
  2. Whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth; whisk in olive oil until well incorporated; add shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper.
  1. Hazelnut Preparation and Salad Assembly
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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)
  5. Top each salad with freshly ground pepper, a small handful of the toasted hazelnuts, and a little pinch of the crunchy sea salt.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Boubaker Touati
    Boubaker Touati
  • Hark
  • koechin
  • QueenOfGreen

35 Reviews

FrugalCat January 17, 2021
I was suspicious of the tarragon so I just used a bunch of parsley and cilantro (fresh leaves, chopped) and sprinkled in a bit of dried oregano. I love hazelnuts but often use walnuts instead, or in addition to. Boston lettuce is a perfect green for this salad.
Boubaker T. October 9, 2020
I wish if u can visite my humbles recipes
Sylvia P. June 12, 2013
I was looking for a buttermilk tarragon recipe to make tarragon chicken salad and discovered your website. Wow! Lots of very appealing recipes here and I look forward to trying some more. The dressing made a very tasty chicken salad. I have to keep my fat intake pretty low, so I substituted fat free mayo for the regular. Since the fat free is sweeter tasting that regular, I added a tsp of vinegar to even it out. Next time, I will probably use lemon juice, but didn't have any lemons on hand. I doubled the recipe so I would have some left to try on an actual salad. Any suggestions for a summer version of this salad since pears aren't in season now? Thanks!
Boubaker T. October 9, 2020
Hark December 8, 2012
Fantastic recipe, and really easy. I added some bacon, because that makes (almost) everything better!
Boubaker T. October 9, 2020
koechin February 19, 2012
i could taste these flavors as i read the recipe so of course i had to make it. served it with pork tenderloin and roasted butternut squash, perfect flavor combinations, thanks for this yummy salad.
Jennifer A. April 26, 2012
Thank you, Koechin! I am so happy you enjoyed it. (love your picture with the little one:))
QueenOfGreen January 11, 2012
Oh wow! Even with my less-than-stellar pears, this salad is AMAZING! Thank you!
boulangere March 17, 2011
Oooh! Making this today!
Jennifer A. March 17, 2011
I hope you enjoy the salad!
hayley October 30, 2010
How many servings does this make? Thanks!
Jennifer A. November 2, 2010
4 as a first salad course. Hope you have a chance to give it a try!
hayley November 2, 2010
Tried it and loved it. Thanks!
AntoniaJames September 23, 2010
What a simple, elegant salad! And to my mind, simple + elegant = perfect. I made this last night, when I noticed that my tarragon needed trimming, and I had no other special plans for the evening's salad. I used a Bartlett because that was all I had on hand, and lightly toasted walnuts because I had no hazelnuts, and added a diced Persian cucumber because I wanted a bit more crunch. Utterly delicious!! I'm glad to have found this, which I am certain to be making again! ;o)
Jennifer A. September 24, 2010
AJ, I am happy that you tried the recipe, and really so pleased that you liked it! Love your ad hoc substitutions and additions~
Midge August 9, 2010
So many of my favorite ingredients. Saving this for fall. Love Coquette Cafe (and MKE in general).
Jennifer A. August 29, 2010
so happy you know about our lovely little hamlet! send me a note before your next visit - lots of new secret places to share :)
NakedBeet June 3, 2010
I love everything about this.
Jennifer A. June 9, 2010
Thanks NB! I hope you find a chance to try it
Mammamia November 25, 2009
Plan to make this for this year's Thanksgiving salad. It offers simple delicious flavors.
LLoquet November 24, 2009
I love the simplicity of his salad. It would be great for Thanksgiving when you have a lot of competing flavors. Fresh, bright, elegant, delicious!
glasgow November 23, 2009
can't wait to try this one out!
junebug November 22, 2009
I tried this last night and was underwhelmed. It wanted something more - prosciutto or dried cranberries were some of the suggestions at our table. There wasn't enough contrast in the flavors. Not a bad salad, just not vote-worthy.
SunnySideUp (. November 21, 2009
boston lettuce is my favorite. nice combination!
EmilyNunn November 21, 2009
The dressing did it for me. Lovely.
Franck November 20, 2009
fresh, and easy to make with easily available ingredients. the way to go. well done!
Catty A. November 20, 2009
This will take the place of the grapefruit and avocado on greens on my Thanksgiving table!
suschristine November 19, 2009
I want to marry this woman!