18 June 2022

Grilled romaine lettuce

How then to explain the current popularity of greens that have first been grilled? There’s no clear origin story; the practice didn’t go viral on TikTok. And yet charred salads are turning up on menus across the country. Most versions plate the salad wedge-style to be cut with a knife, rather than use a bowl, but the dishes can take many forms...

The key to a successful grilled salad, says Feges chef, owner, and general partner Erin Smith, is to find the right lettuce. “The greens that have been successful are the ones that hold their shape,” she says. “Like romaine, even radicchio. You wouldn’t want to grill a spinach salad.”

The other cardinal rule, Smith says, is to let the greens cool: “People might want a grilled salad, but they don’t want hot lettuce.”
Details, variations, and pix at Bloomberg.


  1. I have 'grilled' slices of cabbage in a cast iron pan; they come out great! The green cabbage slices are maybe 3/4 to an inch thick, put some oil in the pan, and cook on each side until it is soft.

  2. I've enjoyed some cabbage cooked with a touch of brown/char on it, but I will never forget the taste of hot romaine lettuce in a burrito a friend's mom prepared for me. It makes me shudder to this day. I feel like letting it cool down wouldn't change the taste, but in this case I'll have to trust the pros. I wouldn't be able to bring myself to try this.

  3. We first enjoyed Grilled Romaine at the historic Burnside Lodge on Burnside Lake in northern MN. After grilling each half of a romaine head cut lengthwise with a sharp knife and brushed with olive oil, it was arranged on the dinner plate topped with Caesar dressing, capers, shaved ( not shredded) fresh parmesan cheese and topped with a couple of anchovies placed criss crossed atopof this eye-catching and delicious first course.

    1. Hopefully that first course was followed by a fillet of walleye almondine, with a side of wild rice. And tater tots.


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