Tuesday, August 10, 2010

117. Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Shrimp, Not Wilted

I recently tasted grilled Romaine lettuce. Not only was it delicious, but it was far different from what I thought it would be. My mind pictured the lettuce becoming a wilted, gloppy mess. Perhaps lettuce with a higher water content would deflate, but Romaine can take the heat...for a short time, that is.

Many of the recipes floating around the internet for grilled Romaine give the lettuce the center stage as it becomes a main or featured side dish. In those recipes, the basted, halved-lettuce head is grilled for 4-5 minutes on two sides, coarsely chopped and then sprinkled with a seasoned, balsamic vinegar mixture.

The following recipe, however, keeps the lettuce in the background as it is surrounded by many other grilled vegetables and lovely  shrimp. My daughter and her husband had tasted a similar dish at a Chicagoland restaurant, recreated it at home and then taught it to me. It is a delicious, healthy meal that is sure to be added to our list of family favorites.

Grilled Romaine Salad with Shrimp

1 head of Romaine lettuce
Olive oil
1-2 zucchini, sliced into chunks
1 red onion, sliced thickly
1 lb of asparagus, trimmed
4 ears fresh corn
16 grape tomatoes
1 pkg of uncooked *shrimp, shelled and cleaned (optional)
* other meats may be substituted (allow for longer cooking times, however)

** omit meat or shrimp for a vegetarian meal

Skewers, greased


1/2 C Balsamic vinegar
1/2 C Olive oil
Cracked pepper blend
Salt, optional

Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded

Prepare vegetables for grilling:

Split Romaine lettuce head lengthwise, into quarters (retain core to hold quarters together); wash and dry lettuce;  baste with olive oil and sprinkle with a cracked pepper blend. Set aside.

Thread chunks of zucchini, shrimp and tomatoes onto separate skewers, (do not mix items on a skewer). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked pepper.

Brush sliced onions and asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper.

Wrap cleaned corn ears, individually, in plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes per ear. Remove to a plate and cut away plastic. Baste ears with olive oil, season with pepper blend.

Thread shrimp onto skewers, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper blend. (shrimp may be grilled on an oiled, perforated grilling pan instead of skewers).

Prepare grill, medium hot temperature. Grill in this following order and when vegetables are cooked, remove and keep warm: zucchini, *asparagus and onions (5-7 minutes total), shrimp (3-4 min. per side or until no longer transparent), pre-cooked corn ears (2-3 minutes), quartered romaine (2-3 minutes), tomatoes (1-2 minutes per side).
*(The asparagus can be cooked on an oiled, perforated grilling pan or it may be sautéed indoors).

When all of the vegetables are crisp tender, remove to serving bowls. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a separate bowl.

Lettuce should be chopped into 1-inch chunks.
Divide evenly among serving plates and drizzle with balsamic dressing which has been well-shaken. Sprinkle lightly with cheese.

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