Monday, June 24, 2013

Grilled Romaine Salad with a Homemade Buttermilk Dressing

Recently I have been hearing about how good grilled romaine salads are from several people. My mom has talked about a restaurant in Ellicott City called Coal Fire Pizza that has an amazing grilled romaine caesar salad on the menu. She started grilling her own romaine at home, so she can eat grilled salad on a budget, and I've always wanted to try it. One of my coworkers has also talked up the grilled romaine salad, so I figured it was time for me to see what the craze is all about. On Father's Day, Greg and I went to visit my parents and I brought over the fixings for a salad and we grilled the romaine. It was a really tasty salad - and very easy to make! I made a homemade buttermilk dressing to top the salad, and it was super yummy. Next time you have tons of buttermilk after only using a small amount in a baked goods recipe, make some buttermilk dressing! And, when you are looking for a new way to eat romaine lettuce, try grilling it to make this delicious salad. Enjoy!

Recipe for Grilled Romaine Salad with a Homemade Buttermilk Dressing

2 Hearts of Romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise, ends kept in place
Extra-virgin olive oil
Grilled Romaine salad with homemade buttermilk dressing
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. of sunflower seeds
8 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 Tbsp. of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 tsp. of lemon juice
1/4 tsp. of smoked paprika
1 tsp. of dried parsley flakes
1/8 tsp. of dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. of salt

Make the dressing first. In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk and mayonnaise together until smooth. Then add in the pressed garlic, lemon juice and spices and mix to incorporate well. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Cover the bowl and put dressing in the fridge until you are ready to use. If you don't use all the dressing, any leftovers will keep for a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

Prepare the romaine for the grill. Put a very small amount of olive oil on each side of the romaine and brush the entire side (all you need is about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of oil per side). Sprinkle salt and pepper over each side. Put the grill on medium heat - about 400 degrees. Place the romaine right on top of the grates of the grill and cook, watching the entire time, for about 2 - 3 minutes per side (or until it turns a little brown and softens). Take off the grill and divide grilled romaine onto 4 plates. Top each with the cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, and buttermilk dressing. Sprinkle with a little extra black pepper, if desired. Yum!

Makes 4 servings. 

*The buttermilk dressing also works well as a marinade for chicken. I marinated 1 chicken breast in about 1/3 of the dressing for 45 minutes and then Greg put it on the grill. We served it along side the grilled romaine salad, and it made a delicious dinner!

Buttermilk Dressing recipe adapted from: Simply Recipes

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