It’s time to once again fire up the grill so the flames can imbue wedges of romaine lettuce with a whole new flavour and texture profile. And when the hunks of flame-licked greens are adorned with chunky vegetables and a creamy tahini dressing, you have an epic meal. For extra protein, the romaine steak can also be topped with chickpeas, cooked lentils, high-quality tinned sardines, or chunks of smoked trout.
Stirring the little swimmers known as anchovies into dressings adds a “what’s that?” umami-salty flavour without making them taste fishy.
1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup (80 mL) sliced Kalamata olives
2 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
2 heads romaine lettuce
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil or camelina oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tahini
2 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp (4 mL) smoked paprika
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1/3 cup (80 mL) crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped fresh mint or basil
In bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, olives, green onions, and red wine vinegar.
Halve heads of romaine lengthwise and lightly brush with oil. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. Alternatively, heat cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Place romaine halves cut-side down on grill, and cook, turning once, until charred and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, anchovies (if using), garlic, paprika, and black pepper. If not using anchovies, stir in a couple pinches of salt. If mixture is too thick, thin by whisking in a small amount of warm water.
Transfer lettuce, cut sides up, to serving plates, and season with salt and pepper, if you wish. Top with tomato mixture and drizzle tahini dressing overtop. Sprinkle with feta and mint or basil.