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?
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
2 cupchopped scallions(use the whole thing greens to roots)
1 clovegarlic(peeled and smashed)
fine sea salt(as needed)
8 large Little Gem lettuce heads(cut in half lengthways)
2 tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil
freshy cracked black pepper(as needed)
2 tablespoonunsalted butter
1 tablespoonchopped green pepper corns in brine(drained and rinsed)
1 cupfrozen peas
1 teaspoonDijon 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.
I’ve pinned the recipe, yes for the sauce but also for the whole dish. Your photo looks like I could reach in and try it now…wish I could.
Now that I know what little gem lettuce is, i can’t wait to grill it. Just printed the recipe. It really is unique. What a fabulous first course idea. By the way, I’m still so sorry that somehow a paragraph with the link to your pisco sour post was omitted. It was definitely meant to be there. We were in Montana at that time and I only had my iphone, but no wifi to speak of… I felt terrible, cause it was such a great post.
That is one smooth sauce, Greg — love it, and its versatility! We used to be able to get Little Gems here, but I haven’t seen them for ages… I will have to take another look.
I love this scallion sauce and this is also the first time I have tried grilled lettuce!
Well, you’re right: I do want that sauce to be the takeaway, but I have to say, the salad as a whole looks so elegant and delicious! I’ve never had any kind of grilled lettuce.
We have some beautiful little gems at the farmer’s market. Your recipe is perfect for them. I love the sauce.
Costco has Little Gem now which is good because I can’t find them anywhere else. However it’s the scallion sauce that’s crying out to me right now!
I’ve grilled a lot of romaine, but never Little Gem. I gotta try that — Little Gem is perfect for grilling. Why haven’t I seen that before? That scallion cream looks really nifty, too. Super recipe — thanks.
One of my absolute favourite dishes is a grilled caesar, mainly because of the grilled lettuce! But I’ve also grilled iceberg lettuce for a grilled wedge and it’s awesome too. The scallion cream (I know that’s the focus here) sounds wonderful. I can already imagine a boatload of uses, like eggs benny with a twist! Can’t wait to try it.
I treasure Little Gem lettuce whenever I can find it. Sadly, my local farmer’s market doesn’t carry it.
Your scallion cream sauce is looks like perfection and with the addition of the peas I know it will be a crowd pleaser.