Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Seared Little Gems

Lettuce is usually relegated to salads. Usually. Though, when I lived in Rome, I do remember Maria teaching me how to make Zuppa di Lattuga e Fagiolini (Lettuce and Bean Soup).

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with salad; I love a crisp salad at the end of my dinner. But I wanted to flex my culinary muscles and do something a little bit more creative with the two Little Gems lettuce heads I had left in my Fogline Farm box this week. Lettuce Get Creative!

But as I was short on time - mid-schoolweek and music lesson day for the boys - I decided to sear the lettuce.

2 Little Gems lettuces
1 T butter
splash of olive oil
1 T dukkah*
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat butter and a splash of olive oil. Tossed in 1 T of dukkah and heat until the seeds began to toast and pop.

Cut the Little Gems in half, lengthwise, and place them cut-side down in the hot pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the cut side has browned and the lettuce has just started to wilt. Plate your lettuce, drizzle with a little bit more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. If you want a little more zing, squeeze a little lemon juice over the top before serving.

This was simple, tasty, and takes no more than five minutes. Perfect!

*Dukkah is an Egyptian spice that you can whip up easily and it keeps for a long time!

1 C roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 C sesame seeds (I usually use 1/4 C white sesame seeds and 1/4 C black sesame seeds, but it's simply aesthetics. Use what you have)
2 T coriander seeds
2 T cumin seeds
2 t freshly ground pepper
2 t freshly ground salt

Toast all of the seeds in a dry skillet. Remove from heat once they begin to brown. Grind the toasted seeds with the hazelnuts with a mortar and pestle (I'm low-tech) or with a food processor, if you wish. At the very end, season with salt and pepper. Store in an air-tight container.

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