During the hot, sticky summer months, I’m always on the lookout for new salad ideas. Maybe it’s because I’m not in the mood for heavy dishes. Or, maybe it’s because my garden is always so plentiful during the dog-days of summer. Whatever the reason, my recipe pile is full of contenders — everything from slaws, pasta salads and mayo-based concoctions to plates full of leafy goodness.
This past weekend, I had to go to a family get together. My family was in from Norway and my parents were having a cookout. It was a relaxed-everybody-bring-a-dish kind of thing. My favorite kind of get togethers!
So, since I had a fresh new batch of
guinea pigs family members to try recipes on, I thought I would dig into the pile and come up with something new! My grocery store had the most beautiful strawberries so the decision was easy!
Compliments of It’s a Keeper
Adapted from tastykitchen.com
2 heads Romaine Lettuce
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1-½ cup Sliced Strawberries
1 cup Balasamic Vinegar
¼ cups Sugar
½ cups Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
Light your grill and set to high. While the grill is heating up, slice the heads of lettuce in half, length wise, leaving the core in. Drizzle with the olive oil and set aside. Slice the strawberries.
To make the dressing, in a small saucepan, boil the vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of the strawberries. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and let it reduce by 1/3. The consistency should be slightly thick and syrupy.
To grill the lettuce, place it on the hot spots of the grill so that it chars slightly and gets warmed. Be careful not to wilt the lettuce. Keep turning it so that it’s evenly charred. This will only take a few minutes.
To serve, place lettuce on a platter, drizzle with the dressing and top with the remaining strawberries and the gorgonzola cheese.
Is It a Keeper?
It was kind of funny. Everyone was curious as to how this whole grilling-lettuce thing was going to work. I waited until my brother, Hunka Dan (that’s how my nephew says “Uncle Dan”), was done grilling the chicken and shrimp and then turned the grill up high. By now, I had a little bit of an audience watching this process unfold. I added the lettuce and watched it very closely. Nobody likes wilted lettuce. It grilled up pretty quickly. I was done in a matter of minutes.
Since I had made the dressing earlier in the day, assembling the salad was a snap! We all stood around checking out how gorgeous it looked — the bright green and red colors topped with the dark, almost black, syrupy reduction. It was a piece of art, if I do say so myself.
We all just kind of lopped off a hunka lettuce, making sure we got plenty of berries and cheese. I won’t lie, there were some skeptics in the crowd. Those that waited for the brave eaters to try it first. I think the grilled lettuce part is what threw them off.
The general consensus of family members (both domestic and imported) was a resounding, “KEEPER!” This salad was so delicious! I particularly liked the flavor from the charred lettuce. It added an interesting level of flavor. And, the tangy-sweetness of the balsamic reduction was complimented nicely by the creamy gorgonzola. Grilled perfection! Yum!
While this recipe was great hot off the grill, it lost a lot of its oomph when refrigerated over night. I had wrapped up the leftovers for lunch the next day and was sadly disappointed. It was wilty and mushy. Blech!
So my advice is, eat this immediately! Enjoy every last mouthful of this delightful salad. Finish it all and don’t save it for another meal.
Oh, and I almost forgot. When you’re grilling the lettuce, you may notice a very, shall we say, “distinct” smell. One that is very similar to another type of leaf burning. Get my drift? Don’t worry. Once you remove the lettuce from the grill, that smell goes away. Your neighbors, however, may wonder what you’re up to.
Have you ever grilled lettuce before? If so, what did you top it and dress it with?