A few summers ago, I purchased my first grill. Over the course of the next few months I proceeded to grill practically every fruit and veggie I could get my hands on—even lettuce! I’m pretty sure my family thought I was crazy watching me throw crisp romaine hearts on the grates of the grill, but the outcome of that grilling experiment was nothing short of spectacular. Does grilling lettuce sound weird? Yes. But once you try it, you’ll change your mind!
Romaine lettuce is one of only a few leafy greens sturdy enough to withstand the heat and char of the grill without wilting into oblivion. (If you’re interested in trying other greens on the grill, kale works well too.) In the few short minutes it takes for the heads of romaine to caramelize on the grill, a smoky sweetness is released from the greens that is otherwise impossible to attain. As the natural sugars in the romaine heat up they are released and create a brilliant juxtaposition of flavors and textures–the outside is crisp and charred, while the inside is warm and tender.
When serving grilled romaine lettuce, you have two options: you can serve it whole on a plate, which looks nice but can be a little unwieldy, or chop it after grilling, which isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, but does make serving a lot easier. With summer drawing to a close, I decided to add the best produce of the season to this salad–marinated heirloom tomatoes, smoky grilled corn, and fresh basil in the creamy avocado dressing.
For the salad
For the dressing
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