Monday, June 4, 2012
Now, I never really thought about grilling lettuce did you? Somehow it did not sound like there was any way it would be good. The picture in my mind was super soggy lettuce. Ugh. Plain grilled lettuce maybe not, but if you doctor it up this way it is fantastic! It still has crunch and a bit of a smokey flavor from the grill, the parmesan cheese adds some nuttiness and saltiness, the tomatoes add a wonderful sweet flavor and the tangy balsamic drizzle is over the top!
Here is what I did to make this salad. I had three heads of Romaine (you know how it comes in a package of 3), so I used them all since there were a lot of us here for dinner. Cut the romaine down the middle from top to bottom keeping the root end in tact so it doesn't fall apart on the grill. Lightly coat the inside and outside of each half of the romaine with good extra virgin olive oil using a brush. Put it on the grill for about 2 minutes on each side, just to get a little char and some grill marks on each side. Remove from the grill and place on a plate or in a 9x13 pan. I alternated the top and bottom of the lettuce slices for interest on the plate.
I had grated about a cup of fresh parmesan cheese and sprinkled it over the cut sides of the romaine as soon as it came off the grill. The lettuce is just warm enough that it will melt slightly. I had about a cup of grape tomatoes and I sliced them into small rounds and scattered them over the romaine. You know, lettuce and tomatoes go together like peas and carrots.
Now, to make the balsamic dressing to drizzle over the lettuce. Place about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar to the olive oil. Make a paste from 1 large clove of garlic. To do this, mince the garlic and place some salt on a cutting board. Using the broad side of the knife blade, mash the garlic into the salt over and over until it forms a paste. Add the garlic paste to the olive oil/vinegar mix. Add a pinch if salt, lots of black pepper, and a tsp of sugar. Mix vigorously with a whisk or fork until the balsamic vinegar combines with the olive oil. Simply drizzle the dressing over the cut heads of romaine using a spoon. That's it. Your salad is ready and is it ever good!
I cut the long pieces of romaine in half because it makes a BIG salad for one person unless that is all you are having (which would not be a bad thing believe me). There were a couple of pieces left after dinner and I put them in a corning ware dish and saved them for today. It was just as good today as it was yesterday. Yummo!
Next time you are wanting a different kind of salad, this is the one for you. The combination of flavors is outstanding. There is the salty parmesan with the tangy vinaigrette combined with the sweet tomatoes and crunchy, smoky lettuce. (I do recommend fresh parmesan over the grated kind in a jar. It has a different texture and I don't know if the pre grated kind will melt). Words will just not describe this salad to satisfaction, you are just going to have to give it a try. Let me know what you think.
Things to Remember:
Don't be afraid to try new things when it comes to food, you may discover a new favorite.