This grilled romaine salad with blue cheese vinaigrette is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal or any day of the week. It’s easy to do both on a grill pan over a range or on a grill outside if you’re up to braving the cold.
Grilled lettuce is a bit of an odd concept I suppose. What we traditionally serve as cold and crisp is getting thrown on the grill, which is great fun if you love the grill like a certain someone around here. Personally, I love the grill plenty, but in February I also love my grill pan that rests across the burners on my very own stove in my very own house. That’s just me, though.
Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which makes an interesting day to head out and eat at some fancy restaurant. Chances are good that most people will choose to celebrate on the weekend rather than the first day of the work week. Right? Maybe? Honestly, Ole and I stay at home for Valentine’s Day and always have, so I have no foresight into what you’d choose to do aside from that’s what you’d do if it were St. Patrick’s Day (which we definitely do celebrate).
But if you chose to stay at home on Monday the 14th, then I’d suggest you make this salad to mix up the meal and do a little something special. Grilling your romaine will actually bring out a bit more complexity in the salad, and with a slightly sweetened blue cheese going on top, bringing a slightly smoky flavor to your salad.
We’ll start with the dressing: Minced garlic, salt and pepper, white wine vinegar and a bit of raw honey get whisked together. Add in the blue cheese and then smash it up with a fork as you stir so that it starts to become part of the liquid. I suppose if you have a small food processor or a blender handy (mine was in the garage and it’s cold out there) you could do this in there and avoid the trouble of smashing it by hand.
When it starts to look creamy and still has a few lumps here and there, we’re going to drizzle a bit of olive oil in while whisking constantly. Slowly drizzle. Do not do what I did, which was attempt to take a picture of the drizzling and end up with a pool. No pool. Thin drizzle.
After you cut the romaine hearts in half, a light layer of olive oil is brushed on.
The halves are placed on the grill, and they can share space with a bit of bacon or pecans, too. Just a few minutes and then flip to a different side. We just want to lightly sear the outside so that it’s nice and brown, but not burnt.
A perfectly presentable grilled romaine salad with blue cheese vinaigrette for that special someone, or if you’re like us, you could eat it on Thursday night after the kids have done their homework and the day’s train track creation (courtesy of Magnus) has been cleaned up off the living room floor to prevent massive injury in the post-dinner bathroom dash to see who can wash their hands the fastest. Or for a quiet Valentine’s Day dinner. With mood lighting.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons raw honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 hearts of romaine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, or 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Extra blue cheese crumbles
In a small to medium bowl add minced garlic, honey, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add in blue cheese and, using fork tines or small food processor, smash into the sauce until partially smooth. It is not necessary to remove all the lumps, but the mixture should become thick. Using a slow, thin stream, pour in olive oil while whisking to incorporate until all olive oil is emulsified into the dressing. Set aside.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cut romaine hearts in half, leaving the root ball on to hold them together. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place heads down on grill, grilling 3 minutes on each side until slightly browned.
Drizzle grilled romaine hearts with dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and bacon or pecans.
Makes 8 servings.