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Baby Gem Salad "Mimosa"

Baby gem salad Mimosa

During a recent New York City visit, I saw baby gem lettuces for sale and had to buy them. When we lived in London they were readily available, but they seem to be more of a treat Stateside than a staple. I love them as I have eaten them in the UK, braised in a tiny bit of chicken stock with peas and onions, but they also make the base for a wonderful salad to announce the possibility of spring. And "mimosa-ing" the baby gem salad with the addition of hard boiled eggs is an additional fillip to the salad.

If you can't find baby gem lettuce, use a butter lettuce or the most tender green leaves that you can find. I usually add steamed asparagus to this salad but, since I was already using them with the main course fish dish, I omitted them here. I would also possibly add orange segments to this salad next time to mirror the orange in the vinaigrette, but the jury is out on that until I make this again.

I made this as an appetizer salad for a dinner party for 4. You can adapt this accordingly if you are making for yourself.

6 baby gem lettuces, washed, dried and halved lengthwise

4 slices of good bread, cubed

2 hard-boiled eggs. peeled and roughly chopped

1/3 red onion, sliced into thin half moons

2 Tbsps red wine vinegar

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsps fresh orange juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp heavy cream

Salt to taste

Slice the red onion. Place the pieces in a small bowl and add the red wine vinegar. Set aside for at least half an hour.

Add the olive oil to a large pan. Heat over low heat and toss in the bread cubes. Cook, stirring every thirty seconds or so, until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the heat, salt, and set aside.

Halve the baby gems lengthwise and remove the ends. Distribute the halves and the loose leaves that ensue from removing the ends fetchingly on a serving plate.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, the orange juice and the cream in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add salt if desired. Drizzle this over the baby gems, making sure that some of the vinaigrette trickles down in between the unfurled leaves of the half lettuces.

Roughly drain the onion slices, reserving the red wine vinegar for another vinaigrette. Sprinkle the pieces over the lettuce. Top with the croûtons and the chopped hard boiled egg.

Deceptively simple -- utterly yummy.

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