I’ve mentioned here my aversion to the traditional lettuce-based salad format. But it’s really more of a phobia at this point; something I hope to avoid at all costs. Fancy salad mixes seem somehow more fit for the rabbit food section at the pet shop. I have nightmares about radicchio. That said, I love nearly all vegetables, including all the hearty greens. There are a million ways around the salad thing…okay, I eat a lot of crudite.
I do, however, enjoy both iceberg and romaine lettuce, the lowliest in the salad chain. They have a sweetness absent in the others. I loved the Mark Bittman piece in The New York Times this time last year about using these two, the “loser lettuces,” during the winter months. His recipe for lettuce soup sounds good, and I tried the braised romaine hearts and flipped it was so refreshing and cleared out my fridge’s crisper in a most satisfying way (i.e. before the lettuce disintegrated and I had to throw it away).
I recently took a page from Bittman and threw a couple of romaine hearts on the barbecue with my meats. (Talk about a mixed grill. Am I right?) I cut them in half lengthwise and drizzled them with olive oil and dusted them with salt and pepper. I considered using other herbs or spices here, but it turned out to be totally unnecessary. They cooked for about 3-4 minutes per side, so that the outer leaves are just scorched. The interior is sweet and tender, and the best part? It freaking tastes like meat. Now that’s a salad I can get down with.