Totally by accident, I discovered grilling lettuce. I had had grilled romaine in some hifalutin’ restaurants in a treatment of Caesar salad, but it was always something that made you think “why did they grill this lettuce?” One day however, during an obsessive grill-a-thon, I found myself adding olive oil, salt and pepper to some washed romaine heads that had been previously trimmed for salad.
After tossing them, I threw them on the grill, and in about 30 seconds, turned them, and then served them 60 seconds later. To my surprise, the lettuce was the first thing to disappear from the table! The next time I made two heads, and then three until I now have to “stock up” on romaine lettuce when people come over because it is such a popular dish. Besides being easy to prepare and make, it takes almost no time, so it’s easy to make after everything has been taken off the grill (for those of you who have aggressively manage your grill space).
It’s also been very, very popular with kids– even those who wouldn’t normally eat salad. I have experimented with adding things before and after the grill– parmesan, lemon, lime, spices, but by far simply olive oil and salt have been the most popular version.
- 1 Bag of Romaine with three heads (unless you despise bags of romaine, in which case substitute two heads of romaine that don’t come from a bag, it’s about the same volume)
- Olive Oil
- Pepper, Parmesan and Spice (Optional)
Trim the bottom and tops of the romaine head, and discard brown or dilapidated outside layers. Wash thoroughly and dry. When dry, place into a big bowl and add about four tablespoons of olive oil (depending on the size of the lettuce and your desire for the texture to be wet or crispy). Mix well and salt. On a hot grill, add all the lettuce in a direction opposite of the grill (naturally) so the smaller leaves don’t fall in. Use tongs to flip, and remove when edges are browned. Add parmesan, lemon or pepper and serve.
A lot of the Caesar salads develop the dressing that goes inside a diner-style ketchup container so it can be squeezed out, artistically on the lettuce, with croutons or toasted garlic bread added or as a layer. However you serve it, enjoy it!
Some folks in my household have derided romaine lettuce as having little nutritional value, but that’s actually not true! It does pack a significant Vitamin K punch, and is certainly a worthwhile alternative!