Little Gem Lettuce Salad Recipe

Little Gem Lettuce Salad
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 6 servings

Little Gems, tiny lettuce heads that are like a cross between romaine and butter lettuce, are the star of this salad. Their slightly nutty flavor is complemented by a simple vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds, citrus segments, and fresh herbs. If you can’t find them, go ahead and substitute butter lettuce. Serve this salad as the first course of a fall-inspired dinner party with roasted pork tenderloin with pears and an apple dessert.

Game plan: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

INGREDIENTS

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 pound Little Gem or butter lettuce
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 2 medium satsuma mandarin oranges
  • 1 medium Cara Cara or blood orange
  • 1 medium Ruby Red grapefruit

To serve:

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
INSTRUCTIONS
For the dressing:

  1. Place all of the measured ingredients in a blender, season with salt and pepper, and blend to combine; set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Remove any loose outer leaves from the lettuce and trim the root ends, leaving enough to hold the leaves together. Hold the lettuce heads by the root end and dip them into the cold water several times, shaking gently as you lift to remove any dirt. Cut each head in half through the root end (or, if you’re using butter lettuce, into 4 wedges) and place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet; set aside.
  2. To remove the seeds from the pomegranate, hold it cut-side down in your hand over a medium bowl and hit the back of it with a wooden spoon to release the seeds. Add cold water to the bowl to cover the seeds and let the membranes float to the top. Remove any membranes from the water and drain the seeds; set aside.
  3. Segment the oranges and grapefruit: Slice 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of 1 of the fruits and set it flat on a work surface. Using a paring knife, follow the curve of the fruit and slice off any remaining peel and white pith. Working over a large bowl, slice between the membranes to release the segments, or supremes. (Chef Michael Symon demonstrates how to segment citrus in this CHOW Tip video.) Repeat with the remaining fruit; set aside.

To serve:

  1. Place the lettuce wedges cut-side up in a large bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the dressing over the wedges and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss gently to coat. Transfer the wedges to a serving platter.
  2. Artfully scatter the pomegranate seeds, citrus segments (leave any juices behind in the bowl), and walnuts over the lettuce. Artfully drizzle another tablespoon of the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle the parsley and tarragon leaves evenly over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.