Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Brunei Town

Gem lettuce boats with feta are bright, crunchy and fun to eat

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – Several weeks ago at a restaurant, I ordered what seemed like a simple salad and was utterly charmed by its presentation. I had never seen it before: Entire halved heads of Little Gem lettuce presented like boats on the plate, piled so neatly with thick, creamy dressing and chopped vegetables that I was tempted to pick them up and eat them out of hand.

A week or so later, a similar plate of tidy lettuce boats came to my table at another restaurant.

Two encounters might not officially qualify as a trend, but I’d put my money on their star rising. Either way I can’t lose, because popular or not, they are a deliciously different way to eat fresh vegetables.

For this version, you can use either Little Gem lettuce or large heads of endive – both have the firm, tightly packed leaves that make the presentation work.

Each head is halved lengthwise, then made to stand on its uncut side with a little slice into it, if needed. The boats are smeared generously with a creamy yoghurt-based lemon-and-feta-laced dressing, then showered simply and brightly with chopped radishes, scallion and lemon

There are so many ways you could run with the concept, depending on the season and what you have on hand, changing the dressing to blue cheese or ranch, etc. For the summer, I am envisioning a topping of chopped tomato, cucumber and basil. With all of the creative possibilities, the lettuce boat salad seems destined to go viral.

Gem lettuce boats with feta, radish and scallion. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST


These charming lettuce boats are piled neatly with a creamy yoghurt-based lemon-and-feta dressing and topped with chopped spring vegetables. They are like a modern reboot of an iceberg wedge salad – uncomplicated, crisp and creamy – but piled so neatly you are tempted to eat them out of hand. You can use either Little Gem lettuce or large heads of endive as both have the firm, tightly packed leaves that make the presentation work.

– Four heads Little Gem lettuce or four large heads endive
– One-third cup plain Greek yoghurt (low-fat or whole)
– One-third cup crumbled feta cheese
– Two tablespoons mayonnaise
– Two teaspoons fresh lemon juice
– Two medium radishes, finely diced
– Two medium scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the bias
– One teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
– Freshly ground black pepper

Trim any bruised outer leaves off the lettuce or endive, and trim the very bottom of the core.

Halve each head of lettuce or endive lengthwise. Cut a little wedge off the back of each half, if needed, so it sits flat with the cut side up. In a small bowl, stir together the yoghurt, feta, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Spread one heaping tablespoon of the yoghurt-feta mixture onto each lettuce or endive half. Then top each with a quarter of each of the radishes and scallions, a sprinkle of lemon zest and a twist of the pepper mill, and serve.