GRILLED LITTLE GEMS WITH BURRATA AND KUMQUATS

BURRATA IS MOZZARELLA WRAPPED AROUND MASCARPONE.  WHEN SUMMER TOMATOES ARE AT THEIR PEAK, FEW DISHES RIVAL A MEDLEY OF HEIRLOOMS PILLOWED WITH FRESH BURRATA, DRIZZLED WITH A PEPPERY OLIVE OIL AND SCATTERED WITH TORN BASIL.  BUT, AS I OFTEN SAY, "SUMMER'S LEASE HATH ALL TOO SHORT A DATE."  WHAT IS IN SEASON, HOWEVER, ARE LITTLE GEM LETTUCES, PLUMP LITTLE SPEARS OF COMPACT, MINERAL-TASTING GREEN LEAVES.  IF YOU DRY THEM PROPERLY AND GRILL THEM IN A PAN, OVER A FIRE OR ON A GRIDDLE, YOU GET BOTH THE GREEN AND A PLEASANT CHAR.  THE DRESSING - ANCHOVIES, GARLIC, LEMON, AND OIL - IS REMINISCENT OF A CEASAR.  I WHIP THE BURRATA IN A BOWL SO THE MASCARPONE BLENDS WITH MOZZARELLA.  THE FINAL TOUCH, KUMQUATS, ADDS A SOUR/SWEET ACCENT TO GIVE YOU A SALAD WHICH COVERS MOST OF THE FLAVOR BASES -- SOUR, SWEET, BITTER, SALTY, AND CREAMY.

 6 LITTLE GEM LETTUCES
 4 GARLIC CLOVES
 24 ANCHOVIES (PREFERABLY SALT-PACKED)
 1 LEMON
 4 BURRATA
 12 KUMQUATS

1

PLACE THE BURRATA IN A BOWL AND ALLOW THEM TO REACH ROOM TEMPERATURE.
TRIM 1⁄4 INCH OFF THE ENDS OF THE LETTUCES. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF.
LAY FACE DOWN ON A DISH TOWEL. FOLD OVER THE DISH TOWEL AND PRESS DOWN GENTLY TO EXTRACT AS MUCH MOISTURE AS POSSIBLE.
PEEL AND FINELY MINCE 4 CLOVES OF GARLIC.
PLACE 4 ANCHOVIES IN A STRAINER AND RINSE OFF UNDER RUNNING WATER. DRY WITH PAPER TOWEL. MINCE FINELY WITH THE GARLIC.
REMOVE THE ZEST FROM ONE LEMON WITH A GRATER OR MICROPLANE.
GRIND A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF BLACK PEPPER INTO A BOWL. ADD A HEALTHY PINCH OF SEA SALT. SQUEEZE IN THE JUICE OF ONE SMALL LEMON.
WHISK TOGETHER IN THE BOWL THE SALT, PEPPER, ANCHOVIES, GARLIC AND ZEST WITH ABOUT 3⁄4 CUP OF GOOD QUALITY OLIVE OIL.
MEANWHILE HEAT A SKILLET OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 5 MINUTES.
ADD A SPLASH OF GRAPESEED OR CANOLA OIL. USING TONGS, GENTLY LAY LITTLE GEMS FACE DOWN IN THE PAN WITHOUT CROWDING. (IF NECESSARY, GRILL THEM IN TWO BATCHES.) DON’T MOVE THEM AROUND IN THE PAN.
GRILL ABOUT 5 MINUTES. CHECK TO SEE IF THEY’RE CHARRED. IF NOT, GRILL THEM TILL THEY ARE.
WHIP THE BURRATA IN A BOWL WITH SOME SALT AND FRESH PEPPER.
SLICE THE KUMQUATS IN THIN ROUNDS. REMOVE THE SEEDS.
TO ASSEMBLE THE SALAD, LAY THE LITTLE GEMS FACE UP ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES. SPOON DRESSING OVER EACH. USING A SERVING SPOON, ADD A GLOB OF WHIPPED BURRATA. FESTOON WITH SLICED KUMQUATS.
SERVES 6

Ingredients

 6 LITTLE GEM LETTUCES
 4 GARLIC CLOVES
 24 ANCHOVIES (PREFERABLY SALT-PACKED)
 1 LEMON
 4 BURRATA
 12 KUMQUATS

Directions

1

PLACE THE BURRATA IN A BOWL AND ALLOW THEM TO REACH ROOM TEMPERATURE.
TRIM 1⁄4 INCH OFF THE ENDS OF THE LETTUCES. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF.
LAY FACE DOWN ON A DISH TOWEL. FOLD OVER THE DISH TOWEL AND PRESS DOWN GENTLY TO EXTRACT AS MUCH MOISTURE AS POSSIBLE.
PEEL AND FINELY MINCE 4 CLOVES OF GARLIC.
PLACE 4 ANCHOVIES IN A STRAINER AND RINSE OFF UNDER RUNNING WATER. DRY WITH PAPER TOWEL. MINCE FINELY WITH THE GARLIC.
REMOVE THE ZEST FROM ONE LEMON WITH A GRATER OR MICROPLANE.
GRIND A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF BLACK PEPPER INTO A BOWL. ADD A HEALTHY PINCH OF SEA SALT. SQUEEZE IN THE JUICE OF ONE SMALL LEMON.
WHISK TOGETHER IN THE BOWL THE SALT, PEPPER, ANCHOVIES, GARLIC AND ZEST WITH ABOUT 3⁄4 CUP OF GOOD QUALITY OLIVE OIL.
MEANWHILE HEAT A SKILLET OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 5 MINUTES.
ADD A SPLASH OF GRAPESEED OR CANOLA OIL. USING TONGS, GENTLY LAY LITTLE GEMS FACE DOWN IN THE PAN WITHOUT CROWDING. (IF NECESSARY, GRILL THEM IN TWO BATCHES.) DON’T MOVE THEM AROUND IN THE PAN.
GRILL ABOUT 5 MINUTES. CHECK TO SEE IF THEY’RE CHARRED. IF NOT, GRILL THEM TILL THEY ARE.
WHIP THE BURRATA IN A BOWL WITH SOME SALT AND FRESH PEPPER.
SLICE THE KUMQUATS IN THIN ROUNDS. REMOVE THE SEEDS.
TO ASSEMBLE THE SALAD, LAY THE LITTLE GEMS FACE UP ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES. SPOON DRESSING OVER EACH. USING A SERVING SPOON, ADD A GLOB OF WHIPPED BURRATA. FESTOON WITH SLICED KUMQUATS.
SERVES 6

GRILLED LITTLE GEMS WITH BURRATA AND KUMQUATS
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