If you've never griddled Baby Gem Lettuce before then you have no idea what you are missing... and this is the time to try it! It's so simple to do, almost fool proof as long as you don't walk away to watch the World Cup (I'm supporting France in our family sweepstakes by the way). Cooking baby gem transforms it from a little crunchy salad package to a softer almost vegetable like comfort food and literally takes minutes to do.
This "salad" has most definitely been borne out of what I had in the cupboards... a couple of random baby gem, croutons made with a very stale end of rustic wholemeal bread, the last spoonful of tahini paste in the jar, olives leftover from my anti-pasta starter last weekend plus my cupboards staples - Greek yogurt, garlic, lemons, sea salt and mustard. The lamb skewers were a bit of an afterthought as the lamb needed to be used and I do like a bit of meat with a salad as you might have noticed? Chicken skewers would work equally, as well if not better, or you can obviously just eat it as a straightforward salad.
Whatever way... give it a go.
400g Lamb Leg, or Lamb pieces
handful of stoned Olives - I used garlic & herb manzanilla olives but you can use any
1 Garlic Clove
50g Bread, cut into large chunks - I used wholemeal as it’s what I had in
1 tablespoon Olive oil or olive oil spray
Maldon Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
10g Parmesan, grated
Zest from 1 Unwaxed Lemon, keep the lemon juice for the dressing
1 tablespoon Tahini Paste
1-2 tablespoons 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
1 Garlic Clove, crushed or grated
Juice from 1 Unwaxed Lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2-3 tablespoon of Water
Splash of Light Soy Sauce
2 baby Gem Lettuces
10g Parmesan, grated
Prep the Lamb Skewers:
Soak 4 skewers in water.
Trim all fat off the lamb and cut into bitesize pieces. Put the lamb into a bowl.
Then in a food processor, whizz together the olives and the garlic. Add to the lamb and mix well together. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes whilst you make the croutons.
Make the Croutons:
Preheat the oven to 200°C [390°F].
In a baking tray, toss the cubed bread in Olive Oil and sprinkle with Sea Salt and Black Pepper. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until golden.
Sprinkle the croutons with the grated Parmesan and lemon zest and put back into the oven for a minute or two until the cheese melts.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Make the Dressing:
In a small food processor mix together the tahini paste, greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and mustard. Add some water and mix again until the mixture is smooth.
Taste and season with soy sauce.
Pour into a jug, cover and refrigerate.
Cook the Lamb Skewers:
Thread the lamb cubes onto the skewers. Heat a cast iron griddle and cook the lamb skewers, turning regularly for about 10 minutes. Put them to one side.
Cook the Baby Gem Lettuce:
Wipe clean the griddle pan and reheat over a high flame.
Cut the Baby Gem Lettuce in half or quarters depending on size, retaining the stalk at the bottom which will hold all the leaves in place whilst you are cooking them.
Place cut size down onto the griddle to cook. Keep turning until the lettuce is charred on all sides and softened.
Cut the stalk at the bottom to separate the leaves and put onto a serving platter.
Sprinkle a little parmesan over the top then add the lamb skewers and croutons.
Pour or spoon some dressing over the salad and finally sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and a little black pepper.
Serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side.