Jon & Vinny's Little Gem Salad

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G and I started going to Jon & Vinny's shortly after they opened and have been dining there with embarrassing regularity. It's a beautiful, minimalist space, with floor to ceiling white oak and incredible food (in fact, Bon Appetit just named them as one of America's best new restaurants of 2015). Aside from their pizzas and not-to-be-missed affogato, they make one of my favorite salads in the city. It's an updated take on a Caesar, made with a Calabrian chile dressing that offers a touch of heat, and finished with homemade garlic breadcrumbs. I asked one of the chefs to share some of the secrets behind the dish salad and even managed to get the recipe, for those rare times when I'm not at the restaurant. 

*Note: The recipe is restaurant size and makes 12-14 servings, but you can scale it down to your needs.

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Directions: Combine ingredients (except the oils and shallots) in blender. Slowly pour in the oils while the blender is running, to create an emulsion. Whisk in shallots at the end. 

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Directions: In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter until melted. Add breadcrumbs and stir until covered in butter and oil. Continuously stir under medium-high heat until breadcrumbs start to turn golden brown. Add in garlic, oregano and salt and stir until well incorporated. Lay out cooked breadcrumbs on a large sheet pan lined with parchment.

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Directions: In a large bowl, dress gem lettuce with Calabrian chili sauce, parmesan and salt. Layer leaves on the plate and top with parmesan, breadcrumbs and parsley.

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Pro Tip #1: Add salt to the lettuce. Since you can see the amount of salt that's going on and ensures every bite is well seasoned.

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Pro Tip #2: Dress along the outside of the bowl so you don't damage the lettuce.

Pro Tip #3: Mix with (gloved) hands so that the lettuce maintains its shape and that every leaf is coated in dressing.

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Pro Tip #4: Assemble the lettuce by stacking it on the plate, finishing with finely grated parmesan (it should resemble dust), garlic breadcrumbs and parsley.

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