Little Gem Lettuce leaves hold all the classic flavors of a traditional Caesar salad with a kick of heat to bring it over the top. It’s a mixed rustic salad in a large serving bowl to share with friends.
It’s a lovely, elegant plated appetizer at a small dinner party.
It’s a beautiful platter of hors d’oeuvres being passed at a cocktail party.
It’s all of these things — no matter what you call it, how you serve it, or how you toss it — these Little Gem lettuce leaves are a mouthful of umami deliciousness! And how sweet is Little Gem Lettuce!? I know, right?
Little Gem lettuce can be described as a combination of Butter lettuce and Romaine lettuce — it’s crisp like Romaine and subtly sweet and tender like Butter. Just one or two bites each, the tender leaves are the the perfect vehicle to hold a few tasty, light ingredients.The fresh lettuce drizzled with a homemade Caesar-esque dressing, with a punch of heat, and a sprinkling of crisp breadcrumbs, is a treat that will wow your guests . . . and you!
I’ve seen Little Gem lettuce at several major grocery stores, and Trader Joe’s. Keep you eyes open!
- approximately 3 dozen Little Gem Lettuce leaves (about 4 heads), washed and dried
- approximately ½ of a large egg yolk (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon anchovy paste
- ¾ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t want too much heat)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (Here's How to Season to Taste)
- approximately ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs (see notes)
- red pepper flakes
- thinly sliced lemon for garnish
- Spread the leaves out on a serving platter or small plates. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the ½ egg yolk (don’t worry about being exact!), with the lemon juice, anchovy paste, honey, mustard, garlic and cayenne. Whisk until smooth.
- Then whisking constantly, very slowly, in a steady stream, add the oil. Whisk until smooth and then add the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here’s How to Season to Taste.) Set aside.
- Add the bread crumbs to a small sauté pan and place it over medium-low heat. Shaking the pan every minute or so, cook just until they’re golden, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
- Drizzle the leaves with the amount of dressing you like — I use a bit more than 1 tablespoon per dozen. Now sprinkle them with the bread crumbs evenly over the leaves. Finish with a sprinkling of the red pepper flakes — I only use a small amount as it will add a lot of heat.
- Garnish the platter with lemon slices and serve!
I used gluten-free breadcrumbs for my son with Celiac -- you can use any breadcrumbs you like.