Scallion Cream and Grilled Lettuce

Grilled Little Gems with Peas and Scallion Cream

I don’t know where I got the recipe for the scallion cream sauce I’m featuring today. I’ve been chopping prosciutto into it for pasta sauce or cooking it with jalapeños to drizzle across fish tacos for quite some time. Its become one of those building block recipes I often come back to. It’s so rich and versatile. It’s a great way to add sophistication to simple food.

And what’s more simple than lettuce? What about grilled lettuce?

Grilled Little Gems with Peas and Scallion Cream

Yes, you can grill lettuce. And it’s worth it. 

There may have been a time when that idea would surprise you (it did me), but grilled lettuce isn’t as unusual as it once may have seemed. I’ve grilled all kinds of “salad” greens and have been wanting to grill Little Gems for a long time. 

Little Gem lettuce is the perfect size for grilling. Small and sturdy. It can take just enough quick heat to char it without leaving the insides undercooked. Which is honestly the trouble I’ve had with some of the greens I’ve grilled in the past.

There’s plenty to say about grilled lettuce, but really I’m hoping the takeaway from the post is the sauce. Most of the Scallion Cream Sauces I’ve come across are really just some version of ranch dressing. In my research, the closest to the one I make comes from Martha Stewart. Her scallion cream mixture is also transformed with a little heat. It’s that extra step that really elevates these ingredients to a sophisticated “sauce”. No matter how simply it is served. GREG

Little Gem Lettuce
Grilled Little Gems with Peas and Scallion Cream

Grilled Little Gems with Peas and Scallion Cream 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–8Source Inspired by Gill MellerPublished
Grilled Little Gems with Peas and Scallion Cream


  • 2 cup chopped scallions (use the whole thing greens to roots)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • fine sea salt (as needed)
  • 8 large Little Gem lettuce heads (cut in half lengthways)
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshy cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green pepper corns in brine (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley (leaves picked and finely chopped)


Make the scallion cream: Place scallions, cream, and garlic clove in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally until scallions are crisp-tender and garlic is soft about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender. Secure lid; remove centerpiece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over the opening. Process until smooth, about 40 seconds. Season lightly with salt; set aside. You can make the scallion cream ahead of time. Cover and chill until needed. 

Prepare grill for medium heat and lightly oil grates. Toss lettuce halves with olive oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place a saucepan over low heat. Add the butter. Once it has melted and begins to foam add the chopped green peppercorns, and peas; cook gently for about 2 minutes. Add the scallion cream, stir in the mustard and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley and season to taste.

Grill lettuce, turning once, until outside of lettuce is lightly charred but inside is still firm, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer the roasted gem halves to a warm serving platter or individual salad plates. Spoon some warm scallion sauce on top and serve immediately.