Taste of Summer Salad Recipe

The Hubbin and I started grilling salads last summer and I immediately fell in love with them. Here's the reason - you know how salads that other people make taste sooo much better than any one you ever could? Kinda the same thing with sandwiches, take the same ingredients and end up with polar opposite results... Well, this salad is one I am happy to make any day and it tastes so much better than those super fatty salads at restaurants.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love me a regular old salad. From time to time I just want a little something extra. I figured out a way to get that taste of summer in this salad without freezing my tush off standing at the grill in the winter (if I can even get to it). It's not 100% the same, but it'll do.

Plus you'll find with this salad it packs so much flavor that all of those fatty extras like dressings and cheese and the like will be at a minimum, you just won't need the extra flavor.

So here's what you'll need:

* Hearts of Romaine Lettuce (we usually use one head per person)
* Cooking Spray or Olive Oil
* Any other salad fixin's you like

To get started, wash your lettuce and let it drain in your dish strainer. Preheat the oven to around 400 degrees.

(Note - I say around 400 because it's not an exact science with this recipe, if you're already cooking something else within the 375-425 temperature zone, go ahead and throw this in too. No need to adjust the temperature)

Once the oven is to temp, your lettuce should be well drained. Don't worry about getting every little last drop of water out of it, it'll help during the cooking process.
 Spray a pan lightly with cooking spray. Cut each head of lettuce in half lengthwise and place cut side up on the pan. Spray the lettuce lightly with cooking spray. (Or you can use olive oil and brush the lettuce, whatever method you prefer works here)

(Note - you can grill the lettuce too if you can get to your grill and it's not under feet of snow. If you grill the lettuce, place the lettuce on the grill cut side down first)
 Cook the lettuce in the oven for about 8 minutes (grill for about 2-3 minutes per side getting grill marks on about 3 sides). Once you pull the lettuce out let it cool for a few minutes so it's easy to handle.

Once cooled enough to touch, start cutting the lettuce starting at the tip and working to the base of the plant making cuts every inch or so.

As you cut you'll notice the tips of the lettuce should be nice and crispy while other areas are left untouched and crunchy while other areas have steamed and wilted slightly. Yummo! You get so many new flavors and textures just with a little heat.

Toss your salad with any other fixin's you like, I added just some tomatoes and cheese to mine for a quick side dish. As I mentioned before the lettuce will have so much flavor you may not need to use much dressing if any at all. A light vinaigrette is what I like best (or just a splash of really good ranch dressing and a splash of red wine vinegar, it's awesome!)
 And there you have it! It's complex but simple. It's yummy and nutritious. You could also grill/cook the tomatoes and other veggies to add to the salad.
Have you ever tried a salad like this before? I swear if you try this it'll be a new favorite in your house too!

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