Kentucky Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bourbon Vinaigrette

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Bibb lettuce is named for its original cultivator, John Bibb. In 1865 he grew his special Bibb lettuce in Kentucky’s alkaline soil. This variety, also called limestone, would become the first American gourmet lettuce. Bibb lettuce varieties are known for tolerating varied soils and heat and resisting blight during summer months, making them a choice lettuce for home gardeners. Not only does tender Bibb lettuce comes from Kentucky,  but  so does the best Bourbon whisky, both coming together in a perfect combination of Southern flavors that is fits nicely on the menu for a Kentucky Derby brunch.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
8 chicken breast skins
1 1/2 cups pecan halves and pieces
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8 cups torn Bibb lettuce (2 to 3 medium heads)
4 cups trimmed watercress
4 large peaches, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup canola oil

Directions:
For the Chicken Skins:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat chicken skins dry.Bake skins on parchment paper-lined sheet pan for 15 minutes.Remove from the oven to cool.Crumble the skins into medium -sized bits and set aside.

For the Pecans:
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together brown sugar and red pepper in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread pecans in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined shallow pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned, toasted, and fragrant. Remove from oven.Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork and set aside.

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add canola oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth.Set aside.

For the Salad:
Gently combine the watercress, peaches,red onion slices and pecans in a large bowl.

To serve, place several Bibb leaves on a salad plate. Place the peach mixture on top of leaves. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese and chicken skins bits on top of the peach mixture and lightly drizzle with the vinaigrette.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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