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Grilled Greens

086-CJ-lettuceQ. I recently had a caesar salad at a local restaurant that used a wedge of grilled romaine lettuce. I loved the char on it and would love to recreate it at home. Any tips? — Missy, Menasha

A. Well Missy, what a timely question for the middle of both the grilling and growing seasons. The first thing is to start with a hearty lettuce, like the halved hearts of romaine or wedges of iceberg. Softer greens don’t hold up very well to the heat of the grill, even though the grilling time is extremely short.

To begin, preheat your grill to very hot. This intense heat will allow you to char the lettuce without cooking it too much, which is what you want. After cleaning the lettuce and preparing your dressings and toppings to apply immediately after grilling, lightly brush the wedges with olive oil or melted butter. Grill them very quickly, about one minute per side, until you achieve the light charred color and flavor you seek. Remove the lettuce from the grill and plate it for service. Caesar dressing is always a popular choice.  Other options include an olive oil vinaigrette with fresh diced tomatoes and wisps of freshly grated parmesan, or a bolder finish with a creamy dressing with chunks of blue cheese and crumbles of crisp bacon.

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