Serious Eats: Recipes

Seriously Meatless: Grilled Romaine Hearts with Rustic Olive Dressing

Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire.

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

Even in the colder months, I still crave a salad with dinner, but often with warm or lightly cooked ingredients. This salad with grilled romaine hearts and rustic bread is a perfect example. With an intensely flavored vinaigrette made with olive puree and lemon zest, it scratches the itch for a fresh but substantial first course.

You can either buy the romaine hearts pre-packaged or in whole head form (reserve the outer leaves for another use). It's fine to trim the base, but leave enough intact so the head will hold together when you cut it in half, lengthwise. If you have a grill on your stove, use that. If not, a stove-top grill pan is ideal for this recipe.

For the olives, you want a variety that is fleshy, easy to pit, and not overpoweringly salty. Alphonsos are a nice choice. Whatever you do, don't use the tasteless canned "Ripe California" olives. If you only have the very salty kind, pit and soak them for ten minutes in hot water, then squeeze them out.

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