Chargrilled baby gem lettuce

I’m always trying to avoid food waste but so often I don’t succeed and I get very annoyed with myself. Just this evening I threw out half a big bag of spinach I’d completely forgotten about  – the spinach was way too yellow to salvage. And I’m always finding bags of soggy and yellowing bags of coriander and parsley in the fridge, or yellow broccoli. Yeuch. I really hate wasting food and always feel guilty because it’s so unnecessary. I must get more organised.

So it’s good to have a few recipes up your sleeve to make the most of vegetables which are just about to go off. Soup (such as minestrone) is one idea. Another is braised lettuce and peas (a typical French recipe which I will soon feature in this blog – watch this space). But here’s something even more simple and quick – chargrilled lettuce.

Little gem is great for this as it keeps its shape really well – and I buy a lot of little gem because it has such a nice flavour. But any lettuce with a strong heart will do.

I really don’t think I need to set out a recipe for this do I? All I did was heat up a griddle pan (until it was really hot), brush a bit of good olive oil on each side of the lettuce, season the lettuce with salt and pepper and cook until charred but still crunchy (about two minutes each side).

Star of the show

I served my lettuce with broccoli, new potatoes and anchovies in a yoghourt dressing,  with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. I love the fact that this recipe makes the lettuce the star of the show,  inside of a side dish.

Vegan version

For a vegan version leave out the anchovies and add a few more vegetables, such as chargrilled courgettes, boiled or steamed green beans, roasted peppers or artichoke (from a jar if you like). Instead of the yoghourt dressing use a traditional vinaigrette – three parts olive oil to one part white wine vinegar and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard (and lots of black pepper). Shake well in a jar (I use a Dijon mustard jar which is nearly empty) until it’s emulsified.





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