Hearts of romaine prepared on the grill is a smoky crisp surprise. Top with shrimp, corn, tomatoes, avocados, and fennel to create a unique and crunchy summer grilled romaine salad.
I didn’t really appreciate greens until I started growing my own. Fresh greens are bright and crunchy, and hold up to the most unexpected elements. Including fire.
How those tender leaves survive a go through the grill, I don’t know, but they do. And they come out the other side lightly charred and sweet and totally salad worthy.
Hearts of romaine — which is the centermost portion of a head of romaine (above) — features crisp, flavorful leaves that look stunning on the plate in all their green ombre glory.
And now that it’s officially grilling season, I couldn’t wait to get some veggies cooking over smoky heat, and give my beautiful homegrown romaine a starring role in a grand early summer salad.
Grilled romaine salad is a beautiful brunch dish, with smoky corn from the cob, avocado, fennel, fresh tomatoes, and juicy shrimp. The romaine remains sturdy and can even act as a little salad boat: arrange family style on a platter and serve each guest their own veggie-stuffed romaine half.
If you’re looking to change up your salad game, try grilling your greens. I think you’ll love it!
- olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian or pizza seasoning
- salt and black pepper
- 1/2 pound shrimp, deveined, peeled, heads and tails off
- 1 ear of corn, husked and silk removed
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced vertically through the stem into 3 or 4 thick slices
- 1/2 avocado, pit removed
- 1 lemon thickly sliced
- 2 hearts of romaine, cleaned, sliced in half lengthwise through the stem end
- 12 or so cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, seasoning, and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat; set aside.
- If grilling the corn (you can slice the kernels from the cob and use raw if you prefer), brush the cob with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the fennel slices and avocado half.
- Prepare grill for direct grilling, preheating to medium-high. Clean and oil the grates when hot.
- Brush the romaine halves with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Unless you have an extra large grill, you'll probably have to grill in batches. Start with the corn, fennel, avocado, and lemon slices. Place on the grill over the heat (avocado cut side down). Rotate the corn cob and flip the fennel and lemon slices as they begin to char. Transfer to a large baking sheet (or other tray) as the vegetables and fruit develop grill lines. The corn will probably take the longest, up to 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables grill, thread the marinated shrimp onto flat skewers.
- Place the romaine halves on the grill, and heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to carefully flip the halves to char the other sides. Remove to the baking sheet.
- Finally, grill the shrimp, 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp and plump, pink, and opaque. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Remove the corn from the cob, dice the avocado, and roughly chop the fennel.
- To serve family style, place the grilled romaine halves cut side up on a platter. Divide the remaining salad ingredients evenly over the romaine halves (make sure each half gets a lemon slice).
- I find this salad doesn't need dressing, but feel free to serve your favorite vinaigrette on the side.