Food & Drink

Grilled Hearts of Romaine With Blue Cheese Dressing

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4

Sharon Winkel of Carmichael enjoys the grilled romaine salad with blue cheese and bacon dressing served at Cafe Vinoteca in Sacramento. She was hoping for a recipe. We haven't heard from the restaurant, but we did receive two recipes that might be close to what Winkel is looking for.

Patricia Stewart of Rancho Cordova found this recipe in the August 2005 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. Maryellen Weber of Sacramento also shared this recipe and says it's a dead ringer for Vinoteca's.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup whole milk, more as needed

6 ounces crumbled blue cheese such as Roquefort, more to taste

1½ tablespoons finely grated shallot

1 clove finely grated garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

2 hearts romaine lettuce, bases trimmed but left intact, halved lengthwise

Olive oil for brushing

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions:

For the dressing: Stir all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours. Before using, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. The dressing will thicken as it sits; thin if needed with more milk.

For the salad: Once the dressing is chilled, heat a gas grill to medium low or prepare a medium-low charcoal fire. Be sure the grate is hot, too. Lightly brush olive oil all over the romaine hearts, taking care not to break the leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lettuce cut side down on the grate, directly over the heat.

Grill until the outer leaves are charred and wilted, and the lettuce is warm and barely tender all the way through to the core, two to five minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Transfer the lettuce to a clean platter and let rest for five minutes.

To serve, place half a heart of romaine, cut side up, on each plate, top with dressing and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Note: The dressing yields 2 cups, which is about double what you will need for four servings. The remainder will keep refrigerated for two weeks. The prep time does not include the three-hour chill time for the dressing or the time to prepare the grill.

Per serving, using half of the dressing ingredients: 391 calories; 8 grams protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 38 grams fat (12 saturated, 7 mono- unsaturated, 1 polyunsaturated; 18 other); 49 milligrams cholesterol; 919 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram sugar; 87 percent calories from fat

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