Monday Night Martha: Julia Child's Bibb Salad
"It basically involved sitting in Julia Child's kitchen at her home in Cambridge with her," Collins says. "I got to sit and chat with her. For two days."
On the first day, Child made Collins a lunch of broiled sole and a green salad with a lemon-garlic dressing. Collins says he'd never seen anyone dress a salad this way before, or since, and the result was "simple, bright and kind of brilliant." He still uses the technique, and offered to share it with us.
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
Kosher (or other coarse) Salt
Red Wine Vinegar
Bibb / Boston Lettuce
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Wash and dry the Bibb lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces and dress immediately with an excellent quality olive oil. Toss and set oiled greens aside.
On a cutting board, smash one or two cloves of garlic. Add a healthy pinch of coarse kosher salt. Then, using the flat of a chef's knife, draw the side of the knife across the garlic and salt to puree. It only takes a couple of swipes. The salt acts both as an abrasive to assist in the pureeing, but also as a vehicle to absorb the oil expressed from the garlic.
Scoop up the pureed garlic / salt and put it into a small (teacup-sized) bowl.
When you serve, you dribble the dressing on the oiled greens, and finish with a grind of black pepper.
This salad is every bit as yummy as Collins describes it: "Some bites are garlicky, some are lemony, all have the smooth mouthfeel of the fragrant olive oil"
Thanks Sean and, most vitally, thanks to Julia Child. Bon appetit!