With the Fourth of July holiday weekend(s) kicking off in just a day, you’re probably dreaming of all the grilled foods you’ll soon be enjoying. And believe it or not, salad can be one of them. Briefly grilling halved Romaine heads adds a nice charred flavor that just tastes like summer. Red onion, soft blue cheese and crispy bacon bring a variety of flavors and textures – a quality you should strive for when assembling any salad. Then, a balsamic reduction drizzled over it all adds an amazing level of tangy sweetness. With a little imagination, you could even stretch this to fulfill your red, white and blue quota. Have a delicious Fourth!

GRILLED ROMAINE WITH BALSAMIC AND BLUE CHEESE

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 lb diced bacon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy. If not using bacon, go ahead and cook the onions until they start to become translucent.
  3. Remove the onion and bacon from the pan and add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil. Reduce for 2 –3 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Brush the Romaine with the remaining olive oil. Place on the grill cut side down until grill marks are visible, about 2 minutes.
  5. For each serving, place half a Romaine head grilled-side up on a plate and drizzle over the balsamic. Sprinkle with blue cheese, bacon and onions, and garnish with cracked black pepper.

Serves 6

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, June 2011