Purpose-driven Chef & Food Journalist

Creamy Summer Lettuce and Dill Gratin

Yields1 Serving

Creamy Summer Lettuce and Dill Gratin

Whether it’s your freshest bunch or one that’s starting to look a bit sad, this recipe is a great way to use up bountiful, beautiful heads of summer lettuce because let’s get real, no matter how local, flavourful and ideal they are, it’s easy to get sick of salads.

By splitting a head of lettuce in two, grilling it and then adding it to a bubbly, rich and creamy mixture, we’ll deepen its flavour and make for some serious flavour infusing. What you’ll get out of one humble lettuce head is something sublime: fresh, but rich, summery but warm. Not everything this time of year needs to be a hamburger or a Caprese – we can have a green and creamy middle ground just like this.

Serves 2 as a main.

Serves 3-4 as a side.

Why I Use...

Lettuce: Fresh, local varieties are available everywhere this time of year, but we’re impatient beings and we grow tired of things quickly. Whether you’ve grown it yourself, get it from a green-thumbed neighbour or get a little too trigger happy at the farmer’s market, this recipe is a great way to ensure heads of lettuce don’t go to waste (because they often do!)

Ingredients

 2 tbsp plant based butter or olive oil
 ½ cup shallots, choppedor finely chopped onion
 3 cloves garlic, chopped
 4 Scallions, chopped
 2 cups plant-based cream or full fat coconut milkI like Earth's Own 'Culinary Cream'
 Juice and Zest of one lemon
 2 tbsp dijon mustard
 1 large head of lettuceany variety, but I love romaine for this recipe
 3 cups worth or cubed baguette
 ½ cup roughly chopped, fresh dillyou can use up the whole bunch or even just a little if that's all you have left
 ½ cup plant-based parmesan, grated
 salt
 freshly ground black pepper

Note:

You can even use this recipe for various other types of leaves you want to use up, like radicchio, endive...

Instructions

1

Pre-heat outdoor grill to high heat.

2

Once heated, add large cast iron pan or dish (I even use my Le Creuset baking dish) and let warm. While warming, add cubed baguette to dish to toast and dry out slightly while the pan warms up. Close lid of grill, let toast and warm for two minutes before removing bread cubes from pan and setting aside until later.

3

Add plant-based butter (or generous splash of olive oil) to pan followed by chopped shallots, garlic and scallions. Stir to combine and let brown slightly for a couple of minutes.

4

Meanwhile, cut head of lettuce, lenghthwise, down the middle.
Add one side to the grill and let brown for one minute. Flip and repeat on the other side for one minute. Remove, add to plate and set aside.

5

To pan of garlic, shallots and scallions, add plant-based cream (or coconut milk), juice and zest of one lemon, dijon mustard, a healthy dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6

Whisk to combine. Close lid of grill and let come up to a strong bubble around the edges of the pan.

7

Add lettuce rib side down (the inner part of the lettuce as this will need the liquid to help it soften) into the cream mixture.

8

Spoon some cream over top of the lettuce before with topping with dill, cubed baguette, plant-based parmesan cheese and some extra salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9

Close lid of grill and let cook for 4-5 minutes until cheese has melted and lettuce has wilted.

10

Remove from heat (be careful! pans on grills get EXTRA hot), place pan on heat safe surface and let cool slightly before serving.

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