Little Gem Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Sharp Cheddar

April 12, 2023

Little gems are like romaine lettuce’s sophisticated older sister. You too will feel sophisticated as you eat it with a fork and knife instead of chopping up the leaves. Great as an appetizer salad or to eat alongside your main dish.



1 head of Local Roots little gem lettuce

Sharp cheddar (I used Seaside Rugged Mature English Cheddar), shaved as desired

2 tbsp panko bread crumbs

Big knob of salted butter 

For dressing:

3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil 

1 ½ tsp maple syrup

1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp whole grain dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, microplaned 

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Tear little gem lettuce off the root so you have single, large leaves of the lettuce. Wash each leaf carefully and throw in a salad spinner. Spin until the leaves are dry. You can pat the leaves dry individually if you do not have a salad spinner. Set aside.

  2. Make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until the dressing becomes thick and all of the ingredients are emulsified together and nothing is separated. 

  3. On medium heat, melt the knob of butter in a skillet. Once butter is melted, add the panko bread crumbs and toast until golden brown. Be sure to move the bread crumbs around often otherwise they will burn easily. Remove from heat and place into a bowl so they don’t over cook and burn. 

  4. Plate your lettuce leaves in a flat layer. Spoon the dressing over each leaf. Add your panko bread crumbs on top. Using a peeler, shave big ribbons of cheddar cheese on top. Eat right away with a fork and knife.


This recipe was created by Local Roots contributor Blake Lew-Merwin / @blakemakesfood

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