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 in this Spicy Caesar Little Gems Recipe.
Spicy Caesar Little Gems Recipe
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 around at a cocktail party.
This Spicy Caesar Little Gems recipe is 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. And each leaf is is very small — making it the perfect size to hold a lot of different ingredients.
Just one or two bites each, the tender leaves are the perfect vehicle to the fresh, tart and spicy components to this salad.
While I do love this Spicy Caesar Little Gems recipe in a plate, my favorite way to eat it is by the leaf, as an hors d’oeuvre. They’re a fun, healthy and unexpected way to start a meal.
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!
A couple more ideas for recipes with Little Gem Lettuce:
- You could use them instead of the endive in this Sweet and Spicy Tomato-Mango Goat Cheese Appetizer.
- For this delicious Little Gem Salad with Creamy Walnut Apple Dressing from Sippity Sup.
Spicy Caesar Little Gems Recipe
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.
- approximately 3 dozen Little Gem Lettuce leaves about 4 heads, washed and dried
- approximately 1/2 of a large egg yolk see notes
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 3/4 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper use less if you don’t want too much heat
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- approximately 1/2 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 1/2 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!
When using raw eggs, make sure they're pasteurized -- I used Safest Choice® Pasteurized Eggs.
I used gluten-free breadcrumbs for my son with Celiac -- you can use any breadcrumbs you like.