Charred gem salad with tahini cae­sar dress­ing

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Cae­sar salad: the clean crunch of cos let­tuce, the se­ri­ous hit of flavour from the gar­lic-kissed dress­ing, the bur­nished gold­en­brown of a crou­ton. This ver­sion is a bit dif­fer­ent: a quick char brings sweet­ness to the lit­tle let­tuces, and tahini and gar­lic give a lit­tle punch to a dress­ing I make on re­peat.

Heat a grid­dle pan over a high heat and heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Cut the let­tuces in half length­ways, and then again into quar­ters.

Tear the bread into bite-size pieces, put on to a bak­ing tray, driz­zle gen­er­ously with olive oil and sea­son gen­er­ously with salt and pep­per, then put into the oven to toast un­til lightly golden – about five to 10 min­utes.

Mean­while, grid­dle the lit­tle gems for a cou­ple of min­utes on each side, un­til deep char marks form and they col­lapse a lit­tle. Lay the charred let­tuces on a plat­ter, sea­son with a lit­tle salt and set aside.

Next, make the dress­ing: finely grate the gar­lic into a food pro­ces­sor, add all the other in­gre­di­ents with six ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter, and blitz smooth. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing, adding more lemon, salt, pep­per and soy to taste.

When the crou­tons are ready, take them out of the oven and sprin­kle with the lemon zest and some parme­san, then put them back in the oven for an­other minute or two.

To serve, toss the charred let­tuce in a few ta­ble­spoons of the dress­ing, then put it on to a plat­ter, scat­ter with the crou­tons and grate over the rest of the parme­san. Serve with some more dress­ing and a good grind of black pep­per.

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