Grilled hearts of romaine have picked up popularity within foodie circles and restaurants worldwide in recent times.
Multitudes of variations on romaine lettuce salads have been enjoyed since romaine's (kos) introduction in early Egypt. Yet, its charms have just been waiting to be discovered as a top selection for grilling recipes. Why? Because romaine's mild sweetness turns into a delightful blend of smoky goodness when seared on the grill.But be warned, not all lettuce will respond as well as romaine on the grill so substitutes will be hard to find.
Though this grilled romaine lettuce recipe works best dressed with strongly flavored vinaigrettes or salty cheeses such as Parmesan or Grana Padano, the pure, unadulterated simplicity of salt and pepper is every bit as rewarding if you want to leave out the cheese.
The grilled romaine is not a dish for keeping. It should be freshly made and served immediately. Leave it lingering and the lettuce will wilt and lose flavor very quickly.
In the middle of winter do not despair if you are not getting the outdoor grill fired up, this recipe works very well using a cast-iron grill pan; the results are almost the same except you are not in the fresh air.
- 3 romaine hearts (cleaned and washed)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Dash of black pepper (coarsely ground)
- Fire up your grill, or if using a grill pan then preheat to hot but not searing.
- Pat dry the washed hearts with kitchen paper. Remove any browned or wilted outer leaves and check inside for any insects or remaining dirt (it is unlikely you will find any but best to check).
- Halve the romaine hearts lengthwise, leaving the cores intact. Brush all the surfaces of the lettuce with the olive oil.
- Grill the hearts, cut side down, over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side, until char marks appear on the surface of the lettuce and it wilts slightly.
- Alternately, turn a broiler on high heat and place the hearts of romaine 5 inches from the heat. Broil them for 2 minutes on each side, until the lettuce begins to brown and wilts very slightly. Watch the cooking process closely, as the lettuce will cook very quickly and burn.
- Place the grilled lettuce, cut side up, on a serving platter. Drizzle the romaine with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese (do not use pre-grated cheese as this does not melt as easily.
- This grilled hearts of romaine lettuce recipe makes 6 servings.