The minute these gorgeous little leaves are available, I grab several heads. I grow Little Gem but most grocery stores beat my first crop. They are great to use in place of bread with egg salad and have an awesome crunch like romaine, and they make a beautiful presentation. I have seen this salad presented several ways but my favorite appears on the Martha Stewart site come springtime. I never think ahead to buy nigella seeds so I sub in chopped scallions or chive in the dressing⁠—a little less fussy and just as yummy.


  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 small bunch asparagus (12 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces, (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shelled fresh or unthawed frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons nigella seeds or 2 scallions, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 heads Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated


  1. Prepare an ice bath.
  2. Cook asparagus in a small pot of generously salted and boiling water for 1 minute. Add peas; cook 15 seconds more. Drain vegetables and transfer to ice bath until cold. Drain and pat dry.
  3. In a jar with a resealable lid, combine cream, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, nigella seeds or scallions, and oil. Generously season with salt and pepper. Seal lid and shake vigorously until thick and creamy.
  4. Toss asparagus and peas with enough dressing to lightly coat.
  5. Toss lettuce leaves with more dressing to lightly coat and arrange on a platter in a single layer.
  6. Top leaves evenly with asparagus mixture, and serve with remaining dressing alongside.