Saturday, August 11, 2007

Grill, baby

Have you ever grilled lettuce? Sounds kind of strange, but it's actually surprisingly tasty. And, as you probably know by now, I have been kind of obsessed with grilling these days. Grilling takes romaine lettuce from plain and flavorless to tender and smoky. Crisper, crunchier lettuces lend themselves better to grilling, like romaine, radicchio and endive.

Jason and I love Asian flavors, so we decided to try an Asian-style marinade I read about in Bon Appetit (it calls for tuna, but we went with shrimp). On the side, since we'd already fired up the grill, we threw the lettuce on next to the shrimp. Topped the salad with a light Asian vinaigrette and made some sauteed sweet corn on the side. Lovely.

Grilled Lettuce with Asian Vinaigrette
serves 4
For the lettuce:
2 hearts of romaine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat (indoor or outdoor, gas or charcoal) grill to medium-high. Cut a thin slice off of the root end of the lettuce if brown, making sure to keep most of the root intact. Cut each heart in half lengthwise and brush each cut side with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay each half, cut-side down, on the hot grill. Grill about 2 minutes, covered. Remove and cut into strips or leave whole, serving one half per person.

For the dressing:
Juice and zest from half a lime
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 to 3 teaspoons soy sauce
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients. Shake vigorously until everything is well combined. Store leftovers in jar up to one week.

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