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Gem Lettuce Salad from Jon & Vinny’s

Gem Lettuce Salad with Calabrian Chiles, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

I feel like I need to divide this gem lettuce salad post into three sections:

  1. The gem lettuce leaves (where did they come from and why are they on every menu in town?)
  2. The delicious dressing featuring Calabrian chiles (where did they come from and why are they on every menu in town?)
  3. Jon & Vinny’s, the restaurant in LA where I first encountered this salad (I know where Jon & Vinny come from. They’re the guys behind some of the best menus in town – Trois Mec, Petit Trois, Animal and Son of a Gun)

However, three whole sections of words sound like a lot of work. It’s summer. Summer is about minimizing effort (at least on this blog it is). Same goes for summer cooking. Summer salads are how we summer cooks minimize work in the kitchen and capitalize on the best the season has to offer. Summer is when great fruit and vegetables are plentiful – making our jobs so easy that we still have time to work on our tans.

As much as I love cooking I really don’t want to be a pasty-faced cook who spends forever in the kitchen. Summer salads that serve as meals tend to be the answer. They require very little hands-on work, leaving me (and you) more time to spend poolside.

Which means this Gem Lettuce Salad post is going to be brief. As brief as a summer breeze…

Gem Lettuce Salad with Calabrian Chiles, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

Before I slip out onto the patio let me wrap this post up by saying that this Gem Lettuce Salad is an especially memorable take on a Caesar salad. It features a sensational dressing flavored with Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, sour cream and Calabrian chiles. It’s not my recipe. It comes from Jon (Shook) & Vinny (Dotolo) – who I guess have better things to do than work on their tans. GREG

Calabrian Chile DressingLittle Gem Lettuce

Gem Lettuce Salad with Calabrian Chiles, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Source Jon & Vinny’s, Los AngelesPublished
Gem Lettuce Salad with Calabrian Chiles, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon oil-packed Calabrian chiles, drained (or about 2 whole, chopped)
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup (plus 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan (plus more for serving, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon minced shallot
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black peper (for seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon minced, fresh oregano
  • 2–3 pinch garlic powder
  • 4 heads of Little Gem lettuce (about 1 pound), leaves pulled apart
  • minced flat leaf parsley leaves (as garnish, to taste)

Directions

Make the dressing: In a food processor, combine the first 11 ingredients and puree until blended. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in ½ cup grapeseed oil and ¼ cup olive oil. Scrape the dressing into a medium bowl and stir ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese and minced shallot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the breadcrumbs: In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter into the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the panko and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the oregano and garlic powder and season with salt. Transfer crumbs to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.


Make the salad: In a large bowl, mix the lettuce leaves with ½ cup of the prepared dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss, taking your time to make sure every leaf is uniformly coated. Layer lettuce on a serving platter attractively; top with the prepared bread crumbs. Garnish with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and some parsley. Serve immediately, passing the remaining dressing at the table, as needed.

 

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