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 Elle Draper

Cogollos al Ajillo

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I have been making Cogollos al Ajillo for some time – I just didn’t know what they were called until someone mentioned them. I add extra ingredients but this is them in their pure form.

Cogollos al Ajillo

I’ll detail some suggested extra ingredients after the recipe… but here is the seriously simple way to make these salad treats. Oh and they’re suitable for vegetarians and vegans too!

Ingredients (per person)

  • A couple of small lettuce hearts
  • a couple of cloves of garlic – crushed or really finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Coarse ground salt


  • Remove any dead leaves and chop off the end of the stalk if it’s brown
  • Halve or quarter the lettuce hearts, depending on size
  • Drizzle a good glug of olive oil into a frying pan
  • Lob in the garlic but take care not to burn it
  • Place the lettuce hearts (cut side down) in the pan and cook gently until they brown a little
  • Turn the luttuce hearts so they are cut sides up.
  • Drizzle with a little white wine vinegar and a good pinch of salt on each
  • After a couple of minutes, arrange nicely on a plate
  • Drizzle any remaining liquid from the pan over the lettuce hearts
  • Serve straight away.

Spain Buddy tips

As I mentioned before, I’d been making something very similar to this for many years – and I often add in extra ingredients.

Above all – this can be whatever you want it to be – although of course with all these extra ingredients this dish wouldn’t then be called “Cogollos al Ajillo.”

Here are some suggestions for extra flavours and textures you can sprinkle on top after you’ve plated the hearts – or bang it all in the pan. It’s up to you!

  • Toasted nuts – pine nuts work really well as do almonds
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • Dried fruit such as sultanas
  • A sprinkle of a fruit and nut mix – use your favourites
  • Croutons
  • Sliced radish
  • Finely diced red onion
  • Your favourite fresh herbs. I love wild fennel!
  • Apple slices
  • Cherry tomatoes

You can eat it as a standalone snack, but I quite like it as a side dish with other “salady stuff” like pasta salad, sardines, mackerel, cheese or cold meats (okay – so we’ve drifted away from veggie/vegan now but you get the idea).


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2 Responses to Cogollos al Ajillo

  1. Linda Hawkswel June 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I love these and I too did not know what they were called.

    Wil now try doing them myself, thank you Elle x

    Regards Linda

  2. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper June 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Pleasure! Yeah – I didn’t realise they were a “thing” either – pretty popular too apparently. x

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