A few weeks ago Alex and I were at an impasse. We have been too busy to cook and when we do cook, we cook the same things over and over again because they are easy. But I picked up some little gem lettuce and we had a huge basil plant from the farmers' market and I wanted to do something fun with them. So we made this salad. My original plan was to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Citarella and throw it on top, but they were sold out by the time I made it to the store. So we ended up making this salad along with an heirloom tomato and fresh mozzerella salad with even more of the fresh basil. As far as this salad went, I wished the dressing had a little more umph to it. It was good. I liked it. And I always like homemade croutons. But I wanted a little more rich, nutty flavor from the anchovy and more basil flavor. Also, in the future I will probably stem and hand tear my little gem lettuce. We left the cute little heads of lettuce mostly whole here, which meant that the dressing didn't really penetrate into the heart of each head of little gem. The next time I get my hands on little gem lettuce there is a Nancy Silverton recipe I want to try in her Mozza cookbook. But lord only knows when I will find more little gem lettuce at Fairway as well as the free time to cook, so it could be some time before we get around to it...
Recipe after the jump!
Basil Caesar Salad with Little Gem Lettuce
Adapted from Gourmet
1 (10-inch) piece baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup evoo, divided
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 large egg
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 large anchovy fillet, roughly chopped
1 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 package little gem lettuce (1 pound), halved lengthwise and well rinsed
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Toss bread with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread out in 1 layer. Toast in oven, stirring halfway through, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine garlic, egg, lemon juice, anchovy, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender or mini food processor and pulse until combined. With motor running, add remaining evoo in a slow stream, blending until emulsified. Add herbs and blend until dressing turns green and herbs are finely chopped.
Toss lettuce with dressing, croutons, and half of cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.