Boston Lettuce and Radishes with a Dijon Caper Dressing

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A salad is always a welcome start to a full meal, and this one is a real beauty. It’s colorful and packed with flavor and textures. The sliced radishes add a spicy bite and an extra crunch. The ingredients for this salad are in season all year round.

NotesDave’s Take: To juice a lemon, squeeze one half of the fruit with one hand over a small bowl. Use the other hand to catch any seeds that fall out.

The easiest way to tackle the washing is to do it in a big bowl or in your sink. If you're going to use the sink, clean it out first really well with soap and warm water and be sure to rinse all the soapy water before you start. Put the stopper in the drain and fill the sink or bowl three-quarters of the way with cold water. Throw in the greens and swish them around in the water, letting any grit and dirt settle to the bottom. Scoop the greens into a colander and shake it to get rid of as much water as you can.

The best way to get greens really dry is with a salad spinner. (Cheap plastic ones go for under $15 and last as many years.) Cheap or expensive, they work the same way. The greens go in a basket that spins around when you turn or push a handle. If you don't have a salad spinner, don't fret. Just try this: Shake as much water off the greens as you can while they'e in the colander. Spread them out on a clean kitchen towel or on several sheets of paper towels and then roll them up loosely. You can store them just like that in the refrigerator until you need them.

Makes4 Servings



Total Timeunder 15 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationvegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrunchy, garlicky, herby, savory, tart

Type of Dishfirst course salad


  • 1 large head Boston lettuce
  • 1 bunch radishes (about 8 medium radishes), thinly sliced, and some reserved for garnish
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • 10 grinds of black pepper


  1. Remove the leaves from the lettuce and discard any browned, wilted, or holey outer leaves as well as the bitter inner leaves. Wash and dry the good leaves (see Note).

  2. To make the dressing: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a sealable container until fully incorporated.

  3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce leaves with the radish slices, capers, chopped parsley, and most of the dressing. Divide the salad among the serving plates.

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I made this with fresh radishes from the garden, apple cider vinegar & no parsley, since that's what I had on hand, and it came out very nicely, a little sharp but very good. Then I added fresh tomatoes cut in small chunks & it was even better. I chunked up some mozzarella cheese and it made it a little too bland. Maybe next time I'll put less mozzarella in or try something sharper, maybe cheddar cheese(?) or even blue or gorgonzola. My teenaged son ate his right up & did not want cheese or tomato, so it's obviously fine the way it is. I just like to experiment.


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