Sunday, March 04, 2007

have you ever grilled a salad?

When dining with Mr. Tart and his parents at Panzano last week, taking advantage of the Denver Restaurant Week promotion (two prix fixe meals for $52.80), we were a little doubtful of the appellation "grilled Caesar salad." I mean, come on, you don't grill lettuce. Maybe you grill other vegetables like carrots and mushrooms and put dressing on them, but then it's not really a "caesar salad," now is it? I figured that for this restaurant's version, the croutons were grilled instead of baked or fried.

But I was wrong!

The lettuce was grilled!

And it--and the whole salad--was amazing. The chef had taken the heart of a head of romaine lettuce, leaving the leaves attached to the stem, and cooked it over a wood fire so that some leaves were singed, some were smoky, but most stayed crunchy. The dressing was a little tart, a lot creamy, and just salty enough--it definitely didn't come out of a bottle--and then the single anchovy sunbathing on top tasted like rich, soft salt more than it tasted of fish. Shaved parmesan decorated the plate and the romaine balanced on a grilled sliced of garlicky peasant bread. It was without question the best caesar salad I've ever experienced! As soon as the snow melts off our deck, we're going to try to repicate it at home with our gas grill.

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Blogger Nik said...

I've heard myth of these grilled lettuces. If it's ever grilling weather, I'll be replicating your the recipe you've deconstructed.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

You know, I actually have heard of grilled salad before. I think Bobby Flay did it on TV, and it seemed interesting. Glad to hear it tasted great too!

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I was also pretty dubious when I tasted my first grilled lettuce salad, but, like you, I was pleasantly surprised. Over the years, I've also had grilled hunks of cheese, grilled Chinese food leftovers and grilled potatoes. This leads us to the question: Is there anything good that can't stand up to a trip to the grill?

11:31 AM  

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