Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Leaf

Grilled Romaine with lemon and Parmigiano

Sometimes the most simple preparations slay me. I happen to love, love, love, Romaine lettuce with olive oil cooked outside on the grill.  Lettuce isn't typically a vegetable that one would associate with grilling, but something magic happens to the greens when they cook and become charred by flame and fire.
Additionally, contrary to popular beliefs, Romaine lettuce does have nutritional value!  Wow... a tasty, readily available ingredient that most people would not consider cooking that will fuel my body and soul?  My recipe repertoire has just acquired an addition!
Because it was the dead of winter and my grill and terrace were covered in deep snow and because I was craving (for some odd reason) grilled romaine, I decided to cook it in a pan on the stove. could not be easier and this dish is just as great steaming hot as it is hours later, at room temperature.Think of it as a sort of deconstructed Caesar-ish salad minus the garlic, anchovy and egg.  On second thought, don't try to label it, just enjoy it!

Seared Romaine Hearts w/ Lemon and Parmigiano Cheese

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and trimmed slightly, leaving core intact and sliced in half horizontally through the core
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated reggiano parmigiano cheese, grated directly on to finished dish, (use a microplane grater)


Heat the oil in a heavy cast iron pan until it is hot but not smoking.  Season the romaine with salt and pepper and place it cut side down in the hot pan.

cut side down in hot pan

Allow the lettuce to cook for several minutes until it is starting to brown on the side down in the pan.  Flip the whole head in the pan and continue to cook until it starts to turn a nice nutty brown color.

starting to brown

Continue cooking and flipping until the lettuce starts to wilt and become tender.

browning and flipping

You can check the doneness by piercing the core with the tip of a sharp knife.  It is done when the knife slips in easily without resistance.

wilting, tender and brown

Transfer the romaine to a serving dish and bathe in lemon juice.  Sprinkle the cheese or grate it directly onto the warm romaine, it will begin to melt on contact.  Serve immediately or at room temperature as part of a buffet.  Each half head of Romaine will serve approximately two people (or if you are like me and love greens, each half will serve one)!

ready to serve

No comments:

Post a Comment