Spring Mix: Zippy vinaigrettes and local lettuces make simply spectacular salads

Come to my house and I will serve you a plate of lettuce. Um, sure – be right over. Really, though, it’s an invitation to check out the incredible lettuces grown right here in greater St. Louis. These gorgeous greens shine when lightly tossed with glossy vinaigrettes that are a snap to whip up.

If you’ve got a minute and a blender or food processor, you can make vinaigrette from scratch. (You can, of course, whisk in a bowl or shake in a jar, but why bother? The dressing comes out creamier – and requires no chopping by hand – if you let a machine do the work.) The classic proportion is three parts oil to one part acid, but don’t sweat it too much. (You’ll notice that we didn’t in the following recipes.) However, we do try to add the oil last and slowly, so that the vinaigrette is nicely emulsified. Then just taste, tweak and toss. And that’s it.

This beautiful bibb butter lettuce is from ShowMe Fresh Farm in Cape Girardeau. ShowMe's hydroponically grown lettuces are available year-round at Local Harvest Grocery. Also look for them at the last winter farmers’ market of the year, on April 12 at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from Tower Grove Park. Our Garden in New Florence, which grows its greens in soil
under lights, is planning to be at St. John's, too, with lettuces, arugula and tatsoi.