Little Gem is a variety of lettuce that is becoming increasing popular and available in markets and grocery stores. Tender, bright, crisp wedges act as an ideal knife-and-fork Caesar salad green or, as here, crudité. A clean yet rich lemon aioli (mayonnaise laced with garlic) is the ultimate adult reinvention of bottled ranch dressing.
Create a deconstructed salad platter, inspired by the French Grand Aioli. Add a bowl of this lemon aioli to the centre of your plate and arrange a variety of small lettuces such as endive, Bibb, Little Gem, and radicchio for guests to dip into.
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 large free-range hard-boiled egg yolk
1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemon zest
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 cup (125 mL) grapeseed oil or avocado oil
4 heads Little Gem lettuce
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
For aioli, combine garlic and salt on cutting board and mash with flat surface of knife or bottom of drinking glass until a thick paste forms. Add to small food processor or blender along with egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Blend to combine. With machine running, very slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is creamy, pale yellow, and thick. Transfer to serving bowl or refrigerate airtight for up to 1 week.
To serve, arrange Little Gem leaves on plate and serve alongside aioli. Garnish with mint and pepper.