2000s Recipes + Menus

Grilled Hearts of Romaine

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:40 min
October 2009
Grilling changes romaine into what is arguably a new salad green. The lightly charred, wilted leaves are satiny and succulent, better able to stand up to bold elements: crisp pancetta and a rich, robust dressing. Serve it alongside a light fish or chicken dish—or, if you want to go for broke—steak.
  • 6 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pancetta
  • 3 flat anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated Asiago cheese plus 1/4 cup shavings (preferably made with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler), divided
  • 3 hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Bake pancetta in 1 layer in a 4-sided sheet pan, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure.”
  • Purée anchovies, mayonnaise, blue cheese, garlic, sugar, mustard, soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a food processor. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until combined. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in lemon juice, grated Asiago, and salt to taste.
  • Lightly brush romaine with oil and season with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until slightly wilted and browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve romaine drizzled with dressing and sprinkled with crumbled pancetta and shaved Asiago.
cooks’ note: Romaine can be cooked in an oiled hot grill pan over medium heat.
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