Butter lettuce, also called Boston or Bibb lettuce, is delicate; it can bruise and wilt as easily as fresh herbs. Instead of tossing together in a bowl, arrange the lettuce on individual plates before adding other elements. A tip we learned from salt guru Mark Bitterman: Stirring salt into the vinaigrette will wilt lettuces faster. Instead, finish with a sprinkling of flake salt, such as Maldon--the big flakes mimic the lettuce's crisp texture. Late spring yields the most flavorful, tender asparagus; this salad is a great place to use very thin stalks.
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups torn butter lettuce
1 cup thinly diagonally sliced asparagus
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons shaved pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon flake salt (such as Maldon)
How to Make It
Combine juice, oil, mint, honey, and pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Divide butter lettuce evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 1/4 cup asparagus, 1 tablespoon hazelnuts, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette evenly over salads. Sprinkle evenly with salt.