Summer Presents

By • June 28, 2011 62 Comments

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Author Notes: Crunchy, creamy, round flavors, relatively easy to make, here is a handful of hors d'oeuvre that travels like a pro. Please understand: these are lettuce rolls, not lettuce wraps. I started out thinking they would be wraps, but friends, I simply lack the manual dexterity and the patience to make lettuce wrap, even tender butter lettuce. So I rolled them and tied them, and I was perfectly happy with them. If you can do wraps, folding in all sides, you are a better person than I am and I salute you. If you can only roll, well, you've got company. Delicious whatever the presentation.

As for the wrapping for your presents, use scallions (separation described in Step 4). Many recipes like this want you to use chives, which, while delicious, will drive you mad with how easily they break during the wrapping and tying step. Give yourself a break.

And don't be afraid to stick a toothpick through the knot just to be sure everything holds together. This is hors d'oeuvres with people you care for, not a beauty contest. The point is that your guests love that you went to some effort for them, not that you were driven to tear out your hair. So distasteful on a party platter. - boulangere

Food52 Review: Boulangere’s Summer Presents really are a gift of a recipe -- simple, tasty, quick to come together. This is a recipe you can turn to when you need a quick plate of something to bring to a party or to serve up to your guests. I loved the hint of lemon, the crunch of lettuce, the pop of the peas and the cheese-garlic shallot combo in the filling. I left some of my peas completely whole for that extra pop, and next time I may try doing a super-fast blanch and shock on the green onions to make them more compliant. Incidentally -- I wrapped half the filling into presents, and with the other half I added additional peas and some sweet onion, and tossed it with just boiled pasta – that was excellent as well! - aargersiaargersi

Makes 15 or so

  • 2 heads butter lettuce, separated, washed, spun
  • 1 cup sweet peas, blanched and cooled, or use frozen, defrosted
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large or 3 small shallots, fine dice
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 or 2 bunches scallions
  1. Wash and spin (in a salad spinner) leaves of butter lettuce. Trim off the ends of the cores.
  2. I used a bag of fresh English type sweet peas. I dropped them into boiling water for 4 minutes, pulled them out into a bowl if ice water to cool, then drained them. If you have fresh peas from your garden, treat them the same way. If you want to cut to the chase and use frozen, be my guest. Whichever version you are using, pour them into a flat-bottomed bowl and mash them with a hand masher. Don't go to the food processor for this one. The filling wants to look rustic, not perfectly homogenous.
  3. Add the ricotta, feta, Parmesan, shallots, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, and stir it all together. Season to taste with good salt and some grinds of pepper.
  4. Trim off the root end from about a dozen scallions. Starting at the former root end, split each one in half lengthwise. Separate into nice, long, intact usable ones and those that should go into a salad.
  5. Lay out lettuce leaves. Using a teaspoon (literally one with which you would stir tea), drop a spoonful of filling in the center of each leaf. Wrap it from right to left, slip a scallion stem underneath, bring both ends to the top, and carefully tie them once. Just once. Don't be discouraged if some of them break. Some will, some won't. Persevere. Arrange on a platter. Enjoy your party. Even if it is a party of 2. Maybe especially the latter.

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