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Romaine Goes to the Head of the Class

June 30, 2005
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Romaine - that tall, regal head of crisp and flavorful lettuce - has become the darling of salad lovers all across the country. Its most popular appearance, in Caesar salad, has become so commonplace that it's on the menus of every type of restaurant, from drive-through to white tablecloth.

The newest and most popular form of romaine is actually a sister product called romaine hearts - a sleek and slightly stripped-down version of the lettuce head, with the outer leaves removed.

This summer, go beyond the traditional Caesar presentation and put split romaine hearts on the grill. In a few minutes - just long enough to heat them through - they'll become tender and tasty. Brush the split hearts with olive oil, flavored olive oil or your favorite oil-based salad dressing before grilling. The grilled hearts will make a wonderful addition to a burger, steak or chicken plate.

And how else to use romaine hearts? Wrap sweet-and-sour fillings in individual leaves, as in the popular Asian rolls. Children love them as dippers. Or pinwheel individual leaves around chicken or tuna salad for a sunburst presentation.

Dieters value romaine for its satisfying crunch and minimal calorie county - only 10 calories per cup!

Grilled Romaine

3 romaine hearts
1/3 cup olive oil, garlic or basil, or sun-dried-tomato flavored oil or any vinaigrette-type dressing
kosher or coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill.

Rinse romaine hearts under cold running water and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise.

Brush all sides of romaine hearts with oil or dressing.

Arrange on grill over medium-hot coals and cook until just beginning to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn to cook other side.

Serve warm.

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