It’s hard for me to resist the jewels I discover each weekend at the local farmer’s market. The mere sight of baby gem lettuce makes my heart skip a beat. These tiny bundles of lettuce goodness are one of my absolute favorite basics for a salad; versatile, tender, fresh tasting. Baby Gem Salad with Anchovy Dressing showcases these little darlings with the respect they deserve. Thinly sliced radishes, golden bits of cooked egg all drizzled with a briny anchovy dressing – a symphony of flavor.
A well made salad relies completely on quality ingredients, otherwise you might as well be grazing at your local salad bar – heaven forbid. The components must compliment, not overpower each other. Olive oil should be the best you can afford, freshly ground black pepper, and large flake sea salt heightens the flavor the greens.
Whole cooked eggs, often referred to unfortunately as hard-boiled eggs, are usually prepared in haste with sad results. We have all had those so called hard-boiled eggs where the yolk has that green halo around it and the center is virtually indigestible. So unnecessary as it is very simple to do this properly rendering a golden semi-solid yolk that when brought to the mouth presents a rich eggy morsel.
Let’s talk about anchovies, shall we? I prefer to use anchovies packed in salt from a rather sizable tin – imported from Italy of course. Now I realize that most of us do not require anchovies in this amount, so please no guilt – purchase a good quality anchovy packed in olive oil imported from Italy. Don’t skimp – there is a perceptible difference.
The tiny tender baby gem leaves and thinly sliced radishes are adorned splendily by the lemon – anchovy dressing. A few bits of anchovy along with the pieces of egg complete Baby Gem Salad with Anchovy Dressing in the best possible way.
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- 4 baby gem lettuce heads, carefully washed and placed on a cotton cloth to dry
- 2 fillet of anchovy, rinsed of salt or oil and patted dry
- 2 cooked eggs, cooking method in the recipe
- 4 to 6 radishes, well washed, dried and very thinly sliced right before assembling the salad
- 1 Tbs. fresh chopped chives
- Kosher salt
- Large flake sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 6 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare the eggs: Put two eggs in a small pot of cold water and place over medium heat to bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, cover and wait for exactly 10 minutes. At that point, drain the eggs of the hot water and rinse them under cold water for a few minutes to completely stop the cooking process. It is easy to peel the eggs under cool water at this point and set aside.
- Mash one of the anchovy fillets with a pinch of kosher salt using the tines of a fork in a small bowl until you have made a uniform paste. Whisk in the fresh lemon juice, then slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Cut the second anchovy fillet into small segments and set aside.
- Remove the white from the eggs and chop. Coarsely chop the soft set yolk of the eggs.
- Be sure that the baby gem leaves are separated and dry. Arrange them on a small flat platter, covering the entire base of the platter. Scatter the thinly sliced radishes over the baby gem leaves. Top with the chopped egg white, egg yolk and anchovy pieces. Spoon the dressing over the salad, perhaps reserving some to present at the table. Top the salad with the chopped chives, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of sea salt.