March 3, 2009

Grilled Romaine, Alton-style

Alex and I are addicted to Good Eats, on the Food Network. Alton has given us great cooking and baking tips over the years and it's always fun to learn about the science behind each recipe. It's a little reminiscent of Mr. Wizard, and that makes me smile. He also has really punny names for each episode like "Tender is the Loin" or "This Spud's for You."

A while ago, Alton did a bit about grilled romaine, which looked so delicious, Alex just had to try it. And it was great! Technically, it's not grilled, but rather just pressed down into a hot pan for about 60 seconds, but it's more pleasant to say Grilled Romaine rather than Hot Romaine. That just sounds gross. And it's not! Trust me, this is soooo good. Toasting the cheese gives it a slightly nutty flavor, and the grilled romaine has a really warm taste. It's a great side dish, but just make sure there are enough romaine hearts for everyone.

Romaine hearts (one heart = 2 servings)
2-3 tsp olive oil
Ground pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
Red wine vinegar

Cut each heart of romaine in half lengthwise so that the root keeps each piece together. Lightly brush the cut side of the romaine pieces with olive oil. Season with the pepper. Place the cheese in a shallow pan large enough to lay the romaine in and press the cheese firmly onto the cut side of the romaine until it adheres.
Spray a nonstick griddle or saute pan with vegetable spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Place the romaine in the pan and cook until the cheese turns golden, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.

Place the romaine, cheese side up onto plates and sprinkle with the vinegar. Serve immediately.