Charred allotment baby gem lettuce with feta and lemon balm dressing

Authorcrumbs

Yields4 Servings
 8 g sugar
 20 g lemongrass, smashed with a rolling pin and finely chopped
 2 g vitamin C powder (available at health shops)
 10 g lemon verbena (dried or fresh)
 ½ lemon (zest and juice)
 10 ml white wine vinegar
 150 g feta, plus extra to serve
 100 g olive oil
 10 g mint leaves
 10 g flat parsley
 15 g lemon balm lead, plus extra to serve
 3 g salt
 200 g sunflower oil
 4 baby gem lettuces
 2 large banana shallots
 30 g cornflour
 golden linseed, to serve
1

For the lemon balm dressing, add the sugar, lemongrass and vitamin C powder (this adds acidic vibrancy and helps maintain the dressing’s green colour), and pour in 300ml water. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Then add the lemon verbena and infuse for a further 5 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, then add the lemon juice and zest and the white wine vinegar.

2

For the dressing, blend the feta, olive oil, mint, parsley, lemon balm, salt and 100ml of the sunflower oil together with the infusion (there should be 200ml of it) until smooth and emulsified into a mayonnaise-like consistency. Set aside.

3

Trim the roots off the lettuces, then wash and dry them well. Cut each evenly in half, from the root to the tip.

4

Heat the grill to high (or fire up a barbecue). Grill the flat side of the lettuces, cooking until nice and charred (about 2 minutes). Then remove from the heat, sprinkle over a little salt and drizzle over a bit of good quality olive oil. Set aside to cool.

5

Meanwhile, peel the shallots and slice into 3mm rings until you reach the root. Roll the slices in the cornflour, seasoned with a pinch of salt, then shake them off to remove any excess flour.

6

Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a pan over a medium heat and shallow-fry the shallot rings, keeping them moving with a spatula, until golden brown and crisp (4-5 minutes). When cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and set to one side.

7

When ready to eat, place two lettuce halves on each plate, charred side up. Using a small squeezy bottle (a washed-out, runny honey bottle would work well), add a generous amount of the lemon balm dressing to the lettuce, making sure it gets right in between the layers of leaves.

8

Crumble some feta over the top and sprinkle with the linseeds. Top with the crispy shallots and garnish with some small lemon balm leaves.

Category

Ingredients

 8 g sugar
 20 g lemongrass, smashed with a rolling pin and finely chopped
 2 g vitamin C powder (available at health shops)
 10 g lemon verbena (dried or fresh)
 ½ lemon (zest and juice)
 10 ml white wine vinegar
 150 g feta, plus extra to serve
 100 g olive oil
 10 g mint leaves
 10 g flat parsley
 15 g lemon balm lead, plus extra to serve
 3 g salt
 200 g sunflower oil
 4 baby gem lettuces
 2 large banana shallots
 30 g cornflour
 golden linseed, to serve

Directions

1

For the lemon balm dressing, add the sugar, lemongrass and vitamin C powder (this adds acidic vibrancy and helps maintain the dressing’s green colour), and pour in 300ml water. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Then add the lemon verbena and infuse for a further 5 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, then add the lemon juice and zest and the white wine vinegar.

2

For the dressing, blend the feta, olive oil, mint, parsley, lemon balm, salt and 100ml of the sunflower oil together with the infusion (there should be 200ml of it) until smooth and emulsified into a mayonnaise-like consistency. Set aside.

3

Trim the roots off the lettuces, then wash and dry them well. Cut each evenly in half, from the root to the tip.

4

Heat the grill to high (or fire up a barbecue). Grill the flat side of the lettuces, cooking until nice and charred (about 2 minutes). Then remove from the heat, sprinkle over a little salt and drizzle over a bit of good quality olive oil. Set aside to cool.

5

Meanwhile, peel the shallots and slice into 3mm rings until you reach the root. Roll the slices in the cornflour, seasoned with a pinch of salt, then shake them off to remove any excess flour.

6

Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a pan over a medium heat and shallow-fry the shallot rings, keeping them moving with a spatula, until golden brown and crisp (4-5 minutes). When cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and set to one side.

7

When ready to eat, place two lettuce halves on each plate, charred side up. Using a small squeezy bottle (a washed-out, runny honey bottle would work well), add a generous amount of the lemon balm dressing to the lettuce, making sure it gets right in between the layers of leaves.

8

Crumble some feta over the top and sprinkle with the linseeds. Top with the crispy shallots and garnish with some small lemon balm leaves.

Charred allotment baby gem lettuce with feta and lemon balm dressing