I think we are all always looking for a new salad and this one seems to be the winner this winter.
Romain lettuce—I do not buy the lettuce hearts in a bag or already chopped romain. Buy whole fresh lettuce and wash, wrap in towels and crisp until ready to use.
Fennel bulb, cherry tomatoes (cut in half if they are large), 6 oz of chèvre cheese, 1/3 cup of pine nuts, 1/3 cup of capers, 20 parmaigiano-reggiano shaved curls to top salad
2 tlb. Lemon juice
2 tlb champagne vinegar or good white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 tlb of good extra virgin olive oil
1 tlb. Water
1 tsp crumble dried tarragon leaves or a couple Tsp. of fresh tarragon chopped, 1 shallot chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together and let them sit for a little while to have flavor come together.
Tear lettuce leaves into bite size pieces, shave the fennel bulb and chop in smaller pieces, if the cherry tomatoes are bigger cut them in half. I then place them in a strainer to have the juice drip out so the salad is not wet. Toast the pine nuts in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil—watch them so they do not burn it only takes a minute to toast. Then place them on a paper towel to drain.
You will need at least 6 oz. of a good goat cheese broken into small bite size pieces. You can choose one that has herbs added if you want or plain.
You will want to fry the capers, they will top the salad just before serving. Drain the capers between two paper towels to dry off the brine so they will not splatter. Then fry in 1/2 inch of olive oil until they are very crisp, now drain again to get off the extra oil. You can do this about 30 minutes before you make the salad.
Assembly, mix together everything except the capers and Parma curls. Dress the salad lightly at first, you can always add extra dressing if needed. Plate the salads and top with crisp capers and Parma curls, usually about 4 curls per salad. Add a dash of good salt and grind of pepper.
This is usually enough for 4 to 6 servings