Yes, you can grill lettuce! Romaine is both sturdy enough and flavorful enough to stand up to the heat and the char of a grill. Add some avocado and a Caesar-inspired vinaigrette, and you’ve got a grilled salad that can accompany a thick, juicy steak or stand alone as a creative main course.
Grilled Romaine Salad
For the Caesar vinaigrette:
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. each anchovy paste and whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. roasted garlic, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) each canola oil and extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup (6 oz./185 g.) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/4 lb. (125 g.) Asiago cheese
To make the vinaigrette, add the vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, oregano and roasted garlic to a blender or food processor. Pulse to blend. With the machine running, slowly add both oils and process until the dressing emulsifies. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the honey, and season with salt and pepper. You should have about 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.), which is more than you’ll need for this salad; store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Cut each romaine head in half lengthwise. Trim the base of the stem from each half, but leave the remainder of the stem attached. It holds the leaves together. Drizzle the cut side of each half with a little olive oil.
Place the romaine halves, cut side down, on the grill directly over the fire and cook until the leaves develop a little char and have begun to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook for about 2 minutes more. You want the lettuce to be a little wilted but still hold its shape.
Transfer the romaine halves, cut side up, to individual plates, and garnish each plate with one-fourth of the tomatoes and avocado. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the salads. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over each salad and serve at once, passing additional vinaigrette on the side. Serves 4.