Limestone Bibb Lettuce Salad with Strawberries

Friends Drift Inn Farm Recipes – Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Bibb Lettuce Salad a Kentucky Derby Brunch Recipe


Kentucky Salad fit for a Queen

Bibb Lettuce grows so beautifully that I just about hate to harvest it. Well, it grows beautifully for Vicky Tewes in her Thistlehair Farm greenhouses. My Kentucky Bibb Limestone Lettuce was direct seeded with an eye toward Kentucky Derby Day but alas, it is still sulking.

Here in the mountains Bibb Lettuce is not a high demand item; so I grow it myself. The tiny seeds can be planted in early spring, and take about 55 days once sprouted to reach maturity. Leaves of the Bibb are a bit thicker than other varieties, making it more heat tolerant in the field.

Joyce Pinson harvesting Bibb Lettuce at Thistlehair Farm in Boone County KY

Bibb Lettuce could easily be grown in a container garden or in an edible landscape. The heads are gorgeous, thick, rippled and a sassy acid green. To harvest, just make a V of your index and middle finger, and fork around the stem pulling up roots and all.

Some groceries sell Bibb with the roots, marketing it as “living lettuce” if you can imagine! Shop Farmers Market First!

A tradition brunch item for Kentucky Derby Week, I must have this crisp crunchy salad!

Bibb Lettuce was developed right here in Kentucky by Mr. Jack Bibb. A buttercrunch lettuce with a very loose head, the salad green was wildly popular until the advent of the commercial salad bar. Bibb Lettuce wilts when left out. So why leave it out?

Look for Bibb Lettuce from your local food source. If you do not see it at market, encourage farmers to grow the gourmet item. You will be in for a treat, and will help to create demand to preserve an important part of Kentucky agricultural history.

To store Bibb Lettuce I lightly rinse, wrap a paper towel loosely around the heads and put in the crisper. They will hold for several days.

When Queen Elizabeth came to watch the races, the chef at Churchill Downs presented her with a Bibb Lettuce Salad accompanied with strawberries. It is a lovely combination, but I like a few radishes sliced ever so thinly as a peppery compliment. Sometimes I throw on a few minced mint leaves, too. I like it that way!

Bibb Lettuce Salad a Kentucky Derby Party and Mothers's Day Brunch Classic

Use a very light vinagette dressing when serving Bibb Lettuce Salad. Nothing heavy! You will want to savor every crunch!

Enjoy a Bibb Lettuce Salad for Kentucky Derby Day or during Mother’s Day Brunch. For a variation, try Thomas Keller’s Bibb Lettuce Salad Recipe.

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.