THREE WAYS WITH: little gem lettuce

Monday, 1 September 2014

I've been trying to come up with a way of saying 'little gem is my favourite type of lettuce' without sounding like a total loser, but there isn't one, so there we are. Little gem is my favourite type of lettuce. It's crisp, crunchy and fresh with soft buttery leaves and a bit more flavour than your typical iceberg, in so much as lettuces can be flavourful. Here are three ways to try it beyond the usual salad:

CHARGRILL Cooked lettuce might seem like a bit of a foreign concept, but bear with me. Popped on the barbecue or face down on an olive-oiled griddle pan, these little gems came out wonderfully smokey with a hint of sweetness. They are actually quite robust, and cooking them in this way really brings out that 'lettuce-y' flavour. Serve them plain with a sprinkling of sea salt as a tasty side to barbecued meats and steak, or treat as a Caesar salad and top with a dollop of creamy dressing and a grating of parmesan - crispy bacon and grilled chicken would make a proper meal of it, but I was pretty happy to munch on it as is.

BOIL This is a classic Asian side dish. mum does it, so at least I think it is. Sometimes when you're having a big blowout meal, it's nice to have something plain to go with it. Boiled lettuce is perfect for cutting through any greasiness and, as with the chargrilled version, this really brings out the natural sweetness, while still maintaining a bit of a crunch. Simply boil for a couple of minutes, drain and serve with a light drizzle of soy sauce and some chilli flakes. It goes perfectly with pork belly and rice, or I often pop a head of little gem into a pan of instant noodles to make a quick snack into something a bit more meal-worthy.

WRAP I'm sure you've seen this variation around a lot - it's a super healthy alternative to a wrap and the natural cup shape is perfect for scooping up lots of tasty fillings. This Jamie Oliver recipe is an all-time favourite in our house, but we've also used our cups to cradle Mexican chicken and avocado, pomegranate-studded cous cous with halloumi and all the fixings for a round of Vietnamese summer rolls.


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    1. It's surprising how much you don't miss a tortilla wrap when you have a nice crunchy lettuce leaf!

  2. I love them chopped in half, drizzled with blue cheese sauce and chunks of blue cheese, croutons and pancetta pieces! Not healthy in the slightest, but delish! xx

  3. I really like little gem too, it's so versatile. I never thought of cooking it though! Bookmarked :)