Grilled lettuce hearts with a mint vinaigrette

Grilling lettuces hearts might sound like a cardinal sin. However, if you are bored of eating lettuce with a traditional dressing, this is a very, very, very easy  to do dish with surprising results. Serve either as an appetizer or a side dish.

Grilled lettuce hearts with a mint vinaigrette  (adapted from Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal)

Ingredients 

  • the leaves of 8 springs of fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon of   mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon of cherry vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthways and seasoned with salt and pepper

Method

To make the vinaigrette, put the mints leaves  in a tall beaker. Then, drop in the mustard, the vinegar, the egg yolk and one portion of the olive oil. Start mixing with a hand held blender. Add the olive oil bit by bit, without stopping the blender. It is done when the mint looks chopped, right before it starts to convert into a mayonnaise (be careful not to over do it). Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the surface of a large frying pain (or a grilling one) with olive oil, and heat it. Drop in the lettuce heart and let them fry over medium heat until they are golden on both sides (it will take about 5 minutes). Once out  of the pan, cut them half lengthways again.

Put the 4 wedges on a plate and poor the vinaigrette on top it. Serve while warm.


Valencian salad

Have been many times to Valencia, and never saw this combination. Normally, what you get if you ask for an ensalada valenciana is a mix of tomato, lettuce, onion and olives, dressed with some olive oil, vinegar and salt. In any case, Thomas Keller’s take is absolutely worthwhile trying… A lot of flavors that seem that won’t go together, but compliment each other to perfection.

Valencian salad (adapted from Thomas Keller‘s Ad Hoc at Home)

Ingredients 

  • Baby leafs ensemble by Migros (the original called for  frisée  and watercress, which I could not find).
  • Roasted red peppers (the original recipe called for piquillo peppers, a bit challenging to find in this part of the world; see bellow for a recipe of roasted red peppers )
  • Spanish olives
  • Valencia oranges
  • Marcona almonds
  • Roasted garlic vinaigrette (see below for recipe)

Method

Put everything in salad bowl, in a proportion that makes sense to your taste. Gently mix the vinaigrette. Serve.

Roasted garlic vinaigrette (adapted from Thomas Keller‘s Ad Hoc at Home)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (=120ml) champagne vinegar
  • 2/3 spoons garlic puree (just blend the equivalent of 2 – 3 confit garlic cloves)
  • 1 1/2 cup (360ml) extra virgin olive oil

Method

Mix the vinegar and garlic puree.  Add the oil slowly, whisking until emulsified and smooth. Put in the fridge in a covered container until use.

Roasted red peppers (adapted from Ferran Adrià‘s The Family Meal)

Ingredient 

  • 2 large red peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper freshly ground

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Rinse the peppers, and then place in a roasting tin while still slightly wet.

After 45min, the peppers will be blackened and soft. Leave until cool enough to handle. Keep any juices that have collected in the pan.

Peel the skin from the peppers and remove the seeds. Do this over a bowl to catch any juices.

Cut the pepper flesh into thin strips. Put the peppers and the reserved juices into a pan and simmer over a low heat for 5min.