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Grilling: Romaine Salad with Spicy Ranch, Tomatoes, and Fried Onions

I always wondered who walks into a barbecue joint and orders a salad, but this past summer, my wife answered that question. To her credit, she normally wouldn't but we were only a few hours off a ginormous breakfast when pulling up to 12 Bones Smokehouse in Asheville, North Carolina.

She opted for an iceberg wedge dressed with spicy Ranch, tomatoes, and fried onions (served with a side of ribs). Now I don't think you'll ever find me ordering a salad in a smokehouse, but I have to admit, this combo is pretty great.

When considering a similar salad at home, grilling hearts of romaine seemed like a nice modification. The grilled lettuce added a nice contrast between the lightly charred, soft leaves and the cool, crunchy ones that stayed raw. Just a little spicy Ranch went a long way, adding an excellent tang and kick. The only thing missing: that side of ribs!

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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