Soft Herb Salad

Serves: 6

In addition to how nice it looks, the beauty of this herb salad is that it can be as sweet or as pungent as you like, served in a big heap as a fresh first course, or a small pile as a refreshing side dish, or as a palate cleanser with a cheese course.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings (can be doubled)
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2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup small dill sprigs
1 cup basil or mint leaves
1 cup arugula leaves
2 cups purslane, mache or hearts of boston lettuce leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced almonds
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes or 1/2 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorn (optional)
3 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oils, more to taste


Up to a day before serving, wash the herbs and greens: Fill a large bowl or clean sink with plenty of cold water. Immerse the leaves, swish around to loosen any dirt, then gently lift out. Dry in a salad spinner or by spreading them on clean kitchen towels. (If working ahead, refrigerate the dry leaves in sealed plastic bags or containers. Add a paper towel to each bag to absorb excess water.)

Melt butter in a frying pan until it sizzles. Add almonds. Saute over low heat, until the almonds are golden and the butter is browned. Lift out almonds and drain on paper towels, reserving butter. (Butter can be kept for 1 day. Melt and cool again before assembling salad.)

When ready to serve, place greens in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chile flakes, almonds, cooking butter, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss gently and season to taste, then serve immediately.


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