One of the great things about being a food blogger is that it compels you to be somewhat adventurous in your food. If you had told me a few years ago that I would not only be happily eating grilled romaine lettuce, but encouraging others to do the same, I would have thought you were nuts. Why in the world would anyone want to grill lettuce? Lettuce just isn’t part of the grilling food group people! You know, burgers, ribs, beer can chicken. Grilled lettuce? Why that’s just… just pretentious, that’s what. Well the joke’s on me, and anyone who loves salad and also loves grilled things, but hasn’t tried to put them together. Lettuce is a vegetable, or at least we eat it like one. And we do grill vegetables. And they are good. It stands to reason that the vegetable we call lettuce, if endowed with enough structure, which romaine has, would also be good grilled. And it is!
That said, as much as I like it, my mom likes it, and my friends like it, you may not. But I do encourage you to try it, especially if you have some romaine hearts around. When you’re done with the grilling, you can either serve them whole (one romaine heart per person), or slice them crosswise, and toss them in a bowl for a grilled salad.
What are romaine hearts? Just the inner leaves of romaine lettuce that stay somewhat tightly together, not the outer leaves.
- 3 to 4 romaine hearts
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 Prep the romaine hearts—pull off any old leaves. Chop off the top 1 or 2 inches of the lettuce head, and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together.
2 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Paint the lettuce hearts all over with the vinaigrette. Prepare the vinaigrette. Put the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to combine.
3 Grill the romaine hearts until lightly browned on all sides, turning every minute or two until done.
Serve immediately. You can either serve the hearts whole, or chop them and toss them for a salad.