Never in my life would I have expected to become some sort of grill master ... and I'm not, by any means. Grilling is a true art and craft that takes years to master. However, when you have a handy little grill pan, you can certainly fake it pretty convincingly.
One thing I've been dying to grill is romaine lettuce. Yup, not steak or chicken or even a big, fat portobello mushroom, but crispy, crunchy romaine lettuce. Maybe the sadist in me wanted to watch the freshness and crispiness get grilled right out, to watch that bright, innocent romaine heart wilt and char. Or maybe the reason was far simper: grilled romaine is delicious.
I decided to incorporate my grilled lettuce into a dish that had hearty components that could stand up to the smoky, charred flavor. Cobb salad was a natural choice. The rich eggs, sharp blue cheese, and creamy ranch dressing go perfectly with a heartier lettuce, while the fresh corn adds a bright, sweet element. (I kept my Cobb salad vegetarian, but you could easily take this to the next level by adding crispy bacon and/or chicken.)
Now, I don't usually speak hyperbolically about myself or my cooking, but I have to be honest: this might have been the best salad I've ever had. Recipe below.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 romaine hearts, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups corn (fresh or canned)
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Ranch dressing (makes about 1 cup):
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced (I'm not a big fan of raw garlic, so I might skip this altogether)
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Few dashes Tabasco sauce, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brush the grill pan with olive oil; heat over medium-high heat until water sizzles when dropped onto the pan (about 5 minutes).
- Drizzle olive oil over the romaine halves and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the 4 romaine halves on the grill cut side down (you might have to do in batches, depending on the size of your grill pan).
- Grill until the cut side is charred and wilted (about 5 minutes); flip over and wilt the other side (optional).
- Meanwhile, add enough water to a large saucepan to cover the eggs (but do not add eggs yet); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a gentle boil. Carefully lower eggs into water one at a time. Cook 6½ minutes. While eggs are boiling, prepare an ice bath. When they're done, transfer eggs to the ice bath until cool. Gently crack eggs on the wider end and peel from there. Set peeled eggs aside.
- To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until well combined and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble plates starting with 1 romaine half on each plate. Drizzle with ranch dressing; top with corn and blue cheese.
- Gently cut the eggs in half lengthwise and top each salad plate with two halves.