I recently found out how delicious grilled lettuce is (where have I been?!). You must try it! Last month Joe and I went to an Outstanding in the Field dinner at Route One Farm. The chef for the evening was Brad Briske, a super talented chef who has worked at Gabriella's in Santa Cruz and Main Street Cafe in Soquel. He served cannellini beans topped with grilled romaine lettuce and grilled chicken. It was incredible. We will have lots of romaine and butter lettuce at the markets in the next few weeks so Brad kindly agreed to write up a grilled lettuce recipe for this cookbook. Include this in your Fourth of July grilling!
Grilled summer lettuces with peaches and cheese
For the lettuce marinade
4 heads lettuce
3 cloves minced garlic
2 sprigs rosemary chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon organic sugar
salt and black pepper to taste
Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut your lettuces down the middle from root to shoot leaving the bottom stalk attached. Toss split lettuces in marinade bowl until evenly coated and marinate for no more than 20 minutes.
Grilled peach vinaigrette
same marinade as above
1 bulb fennel
½ Cup of your favorite white vinegar such as champagne, white balasmic or white wine
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Cup olive oil
Halve the peaches. Use the same marinade for lettuce for the peaches. While peaches are marinating saute diced fennel with a splash of water and salt over low heat until tender but not colored. 10-12 minutes. grill your peaches. dice the peaches. Add vinegar, honey and diced grilled peaches to fennel and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. stir in olive oil. squeeze in the lemon and check for salt
Grilled lettuce note...
Make sure the grill is hot! I mean the highest heat possible. The kind that hurts to put your hand over for just a second (I recommend the long tongs for those without restaurant hands) and grill your lettuce for just a minute maybe one minute 20 seconds cut side down. It should sizzle and flare Bobby Flay Food network style from the delicious marinade. Flip and grill the other side for 30 - 40 seconds. Remember just like meat, lettuce will continue cooking (wilting) after you take it off the grill and no one likes it overcooked.
Lay two halves of lettuce criss cross on the plate cut side up. Generously spoon your grilled peach vinaigrette all over the lettuce making sure to get all the chunky goodness. Use a peeler to shave strips of a creamy semi hard cheese like ricotta salata. You can get Top Chef style points for drizzling any remaining lettuce and peach marinade around the edge of the plate.