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Technically, it is Spring; however, with all the warm weather we are having down here in the South ~ it sure feels like Summer!
And with warm weather comes the natural desire to keep the kitchen cool and break out the Weber on the patio. I was reminded while in Italy last week, that lettuce isn’t only the cold, crisp dish we Americans tend to serve alongside our entree. In Italy, lettuce is also sauteed, boiled, or grilled. Yes ~ grilled.
Here is my version of “Grilled Romaine hearts with Gorgonzola” dressing ~ a combination of Gorgonzola, yogurt, fresh garden basil and toasted pecans comes together to make sure this recipe will be easy to make at the beach, lake, family picnic or anywhere else you find yourself with the grill fired up this summer.
And if you are a little short on charcoal or the heat outside is just too much to take, no worries! This recipe can be quickly prepared stovetop with a grill pan—as in the cooking video.
Here is an early taste of summer in the middle of “Spring!”
Grilled Romaine Hearts with Gorgonzola, Yogurt & Pecans
For the dressing:
3 ounces (3/4 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, using a fork, mash together the Gorgonzola and yogurt until a creamy, but still lumpy, dressing is formed. Stir in the basil, salt and pepper until well mixed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 3/4 cup dressing.
For the Romaine:
6 Romaine hearts
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup Fancy Pecan halves, toasted, then roughly chopped
Remove any bruised or wilted outside leaves of the Romaine hearts. Cut each heart lengthwise in half from the tip through the core, making sure to leave the core attached – the core holds the leaves of each half together. Place the heart halves into a large bowl of water, plunging up and down several times to rinse off the hearts. Dry the hearts completely with a kitchen towel or paper towels and place on a platter. Lightly brush the outside and cut side of each Romaine heart with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or heat an outdoor grill. When hot, place the seasoned hearts on the grill, in batches if necessary, and grill until the outer leaves start to wilt and get grill marks on them. Using tongs, turn the hearts over as they cook to grill both sides of the hearts. The hearts will grill relatively quickly depending on the heat of the grill, so keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
Place the grilled hearts on a platter, cut-side up, drizzling the dressing over the hearts. Garnish the dressed hearts with chopped pecans. Serve while the hearts are still warm from the grill or at room temperature.
Serves 6 as an entrée-sized salad, 12 as a side salad.