One of the greatest perks of summer is the grill! I think we can all agree that summer just wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t fire up the gas tank or light some charcoal on fire and throw some meat around once or twice a week.
A year or so ago, I heard a friend talking about grilling her lettuce. And I was like, “Whaaaaaat?!” And she was like, “Yea, girl!” And I was like, “NO WAY!” (And you’re like, “Abbye, get ON with it for the sake of Pete.”)
The happy ending of that little story is that I DID try it! And do you know what? The clouds parted, all the stars aligned and I heard literal angels singing. Grilling your lettuce will change how you feel about life, I tell ya!
So I decided to share this ridiculous grilled romaine salad with bacon, radish, tomatoes + homemade blue cheese dressing with you! I happened to have some steak left over from Rylee Girls’ birthday dinner the night before so I threw some of that on the plate, too. It is rarely a mistake to add steak to a dish so do it!
*Detailed ingredient list and instructions also found in the recipe card at the end of this post!
First, crumble some blue cheese – about 1/3 cup… If you’re wondering what to get me for my birthday… blue cheese is the answer. I just adore it. (a little too much, if I’m honest)
Put the cheese in a bowl along with 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of whole milk, lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt and pepper to taste and whisk it all up!
Then chop your other toppings.
I found these adorable Easter Egg Radishes that I couldn’t walk by without picking up. They were calling my name… aren't they gorgeous! Slice and dice them up.
Slice some grape tomatoes and chop up some cooked bacon. (I lay my uncooked bacon on a sheet pan and place in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and allow the bacon to cook until it's crispy enough for ya' - about 20 minutes)
Luna Babe loves the bacon step. Geez those eyes. I’ll let you guess whether or not I gave in.
Then set it all aside while you work some magic on the grill. I have a cast iron grill pan that I use when I’m not up for standing out in the 157% humidity that we deal with every day during NC summers. Set your grill pan to medium heat (or your gas grill).
Cut your romaine in half right down the middle. Don’t cut the root end off, it will hold it all together.
Brush the cut side with olive oil and place cut side down on your pre-heated grill.
After a minute or so, when it’s nicely charred, turn it over for another minute.
Place the grilled lettuce on a plate and add the tomatoes, radishes, bacon and some meat if you have it. Then drizzle liberally with your perfect homemade blue cheese dressing. Go ahead… don’t be shy with it.
You guys just need to trust me on this one. Grilling your lettuce may seem a little strange, I’ll admit. But it turns into this barely charred, wilted – yet still a little crunchy in the middle – wedge of pure summer perfection. I love it so much!!
And you know what? Feel free to change up the toppings… go with what you love, that’s the beauty of summer cooking! So many lovely and fresh foods to try! Walk through the produce section of your local grocery or your farmers market and see what’s calling your name.
All photos by Matthew Ray