Grilled Romaine Salad

beforegrillGrilled lettuce. Come on, really?

My first reaction was a cocked eyebrow and a quizzical smacking of the lips trying to wrap my tastebuds around the concept of grilling lettuce.

But it was one of Chef Mel Chaiken’s creations and, since I have consistently been amazed by her flavor combinations, I knew I had to try it.

Bulls-eye!!  Again.

Thank you Chef, you certainly inspired many delicious renditions of that meal over the last couple of years.

befoeThe grilling of a crisp fresh head of romaine that has been anointed with a bit of  extra virgin olive oil, sweet  balsamic vinegar and the simplest of seasonings turns it from a simple salad base into a smokey somehow richer and much more fulfilling meal. That, topped with any number of sweet and savory accompaniments, is all one needs for a most satisfying medium size meal. Pair it up with some crusty bread or a  mixed grill of skewered meats like miso glazed salmon, chicken souvlaki or beef sate and proceed to melt into your chair. It’s simple, quick and has minimal clean up. A winner no matter how you look at it.

Grilled Romaine Salad
A great base for a number of savory toppings.
Serves 2                                                Time: 15 minutes
Romaine Lettuce                             1 large head or 2 small
Extra Virgin Olive Oil                 2 tbsp
Balsamic Vinegar                      1 tbsp
Salt & Pepper                              TT
Split the head(s) of romaine down the center. Liberally drizzle each cut face with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside for ten minutes.
Preheat your grill to medium high. Be sure your grill rack is clean and lightly oiled. Place the  lettuce on the grill, cut side down, and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes or until you can see grill marks on the lettuce and it has wilted only slightly. Remove from the grill and plate grilled side up. Top with your combination of the following ingredients and be prepared for a trip to taste bud nirvana!
Crumbled Gorgonzola
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Diced Smoked Gouda
Shaved ParmesanDiced Pancetta
Crumbled Bacon
Thin sliced Prosciutto
Minced Garlic
Diced Red Onion
Peppadew Peppers
Sundried Tomatoes
Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
Smoked Sea Salt
Balsamic Glaze

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