Although restaurants love to tempt you with some of their more creative appetizers, sometimes you just want to start your meal with a good, green salad. When I want a great salad, this is the one I crave above all others.
Start by pulling off the outer leaves of the butter lettuce and stack, with each stem facing in opposite directions, while working your way into the crisp, inner leaves as you build your salad. The whole idea is to make the salad look somewhat like a flower while conveying height and structure. At the end of the stacking process, I like to gently press down into the center of the salad using my fingers. You will hear the salad "crunch" while compressing together, giving you a more stable presentation that can be carried from the kitchen to the table.
Using our sherry-shallot vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette you prefer), dress the salad on the plate. Having a squeeze bottle is important for this step because it allows you to work the nozzle in between the leaves, distributing the vinaigrette throughout the salad. Although you can use any vinaigrette you wish, I do recommend an "emulsified" vinaigrette because it will cling better to the butter lettuce and stand up to its "watery crunch."
Next, distribute toasted pine nuts throughout the folds of the butter lettuce. The pine nuts add a nice "meaty" flavor and crunch.
Pick individual leafs of tarragon and place randomly throughout the salad so that the tip of the tarragon leaves "pop" out from the salad.
Garnish with five orange supremes and season with fleur de sel. Serve immediately.