Recipes

The Best Little Gem Salad Is the One You Make At Home

No, we do not grow bananas on the farm and yes, we have gotten asked that. We do however, always have rogue bananas laying around the house that we must do something with! I’ve tinkered with dozens upon dozens of banana breads and this one, in my opinion, is the very best version as the buckwheat and rye flours give it incredible nutty depth. A heavy coat of rough sugar on top is the piece de resistance to the whole shebang. Once cool, the contrast of the crispy sugared exterior against the soft inside is what dreams are made of. 

“Little Gem lettuce has grown in popularity over the past few years, making an appearance — raw, marinated, grilled, and more — in nearly every posh restaurant on the map,” chef and farm founder Emma Hearst writes in her cookbook Flavors from the Farm: Vegetable-Forward Food to Share. But have you ever wondered why all the fuss?

“…This small romaine type is not only popular among consumers but also growers. It’s a fast-growing, consistent variety that yields the perfect personal-size lettuce,” Hearst explains. “It can be cultivated year-round, is ideal for growing in compact spaces, and transplants with ease.”

If you’re curious about ditching the restaurant reservation to eat this hardy lettuce at your own dinner table, Hearst has the perfect recipe to help you get started. Her little gem salad calls for a warm, buttery dressing that gets a unique tang from the addition of sherry vinegar. Toasted almonds contribute a habit-forming crunch that will have you hooked.

Recipes

The Best Little Gem Salad Is the One You Make At Home

“Little Gem lettuce has grown in popularity over the past few years, making an appearance — raw, marinated, grilled, and more — in nearly every posh restaurant on the map,” chef and farm founder Emma Hearst writes in her cookbook Flavors from the Farm: Vegetable-Forward Food to Share. But have you ever wondered why all the fuss?

“…This small romaine type is not only popular among consumers but also growers. It’s a fast-growing, consistent variety that yields the perfect personal-size lettuce,” Hearst explains. “It can be cultivated year-round, is ideal for growing in compact spaces, and transplants with ease.”

If you’re curious about ditching the restaurant reservation to eat this hardy lettuce at your own dinner table, Hearst has the perfect recipe to help you get started. Her little gem salad calls for a warm, buttery dressing that gets a unique tang from the addition of sherry vinegar. Toasted almonds contribute a habit-forming crunch that will have you hooked.

Gem Salad

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4–8 heads Little Gem lettuce (1 or 2 heads per person, depending on size)
5 tablespoons butter
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
1–2 dashes aged sherry vinegar
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Torn fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Clean any unattractive outer leaves off the Little Gem heads. Trim the base of each head, then cut lengthwise into halves or quarters (depending on size), keeping each piece intact. Arrange cut side up on individual plates or a platter.

In a skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Then, using a Microplane or other fine-rasp grater, grate the garlic directly into the pan. Add the kosher salt and paprika (if using) and cook until the mixture becomes obnoxiously aromatic—in the best way. Take a moment to inhale deeply and notice what pleasure these fragrances deliver!

Add the vinegar, give the mixture a taste, think what it might need, and adjust. The flavor should be rich, bright, and well seasoned to balance the high water content of the greens.

Moments before you are ready to serve, and not a moment sooner, spoon the warm dressing over the Little Gems and garnish with a storm of almonds, parsley, and bread crumbs. Finish with Maldon salt and several twists of pepper and serve.