Fiesta Summer Salad with Grilled Romaine
Today is a great day, friends.
Not only did Beyoncé post this picture and finally reveal her twin babies’ names, which are delightfully ludicrous,* but I also discovered my new fitness guru on YouTube and ate a really, really, ridiculously good peach!
Plus, it’s Friday, and for the first time in two months, I’m not travelingggg. Yours truly is staying put in NYC, where I will be spending the weekend sleeping, maybe doing something mildly athletic (#myfuckingfitnessjourney), shopping for klassy bachelorette dresses, and sweating drinking rosé with my roommate and some of my other favorite peeps. I even have grand plans to clean out my closet and maybe hit up Bed, Bath & Beyond for some organizational shiz if there’s time. (I don’t know if I’ll have enough time!) Wild agenda, I know.
I can’t wait.
*I actually don’t think the names Rumi and Carter are that strange on their own, but it’s unclear if Carter will go by “Sir” or “Sir Carter.” I sincerely hope it’s the latter. I just picture Beyoncé writing a letter to his future school being like, “Please do not allow the children or teachers to use nicknames. The child must be addressed as ‘Sir Carter’ at all times. If you disoBEY me, I will know. Blue Ivy will tell me.” Also, why is Rumi not a ‘Sir?” Is he not as cool? #prayforrumi.
‘Tis also a great day because I finally get to drop this fire Fiesta Summer Salad with Grilled Romaine on you. I actually can’t believe I haven’t posted any sort of grilled romaine recipe until today, and I apologize for unintentionally bogarting one of my favorite summer staples all these years…
If you’ve never had grilled romaine hearts, I am, as always, THRILLED to take credit for introducing you to their magic. I know it may seem weird to grill lettuce, but I swear it has an awesome effect on the greens. It softens them ever so slightly, and a little bit of char adds killer smoky flavor. Grilled romaine is delicious on its own topped with almost any type of dressing—even just a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon—but sometimes it’s fun to go a little ham and top the hearts with sweet corn, tomatoes, creamy avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips (aka “fiesta croutons”), and an extremely addictive yogurt dressing.
Let’s talk about this dressing for a hot sec. It’s equal parts creamy, tangy, spicy and sweet, and it’s made with just a handful of basic ingredients: Greek yogurt, fresh lime juice, garlic, cumin, honey, and chipotle adobo sauce. If you’re annoyed by the thought of purchasing a can of chipotles in adobo just for the sauce…relax. You can store the chipotles and remaining sauce in an airtight container in the fridge (they’ll last for a few months!), and add them to other delicious things. FYI, there are lots of chipotle-happy recipes on this site and in The Dude Diet to help use up those bad boys.
A couple quick recipe notes/you do you options. This salad is a festive weekend lunch or light vegetarian dinner, but it’s also bomb with your favorite grilled meat, poultry or fish. (I love throwing some grilled shrimp on top.) You can also slice each half heart crosswise and serve it as an appetizer or side for a larger group. Fahncy. Oh, and the recipe certainly doesn’t need any cheese, but if you’re in the “more is more” camp, a sprinkling of feta, cotija, or goat cheese would be delightful.
If you choose to present the salad on a platter like I did in these glamour shots, I recommend garnishing the romaine with half the “toppings” and passing the rest with the dressing so people can decorate their own salads. Alternatively, you can put half of the corn/tomatoes/avocado on the platter, add the romaine hearts, and finish with the remainder. (When it comes to a pretty presentation, you really just want to make sure you can still see the romaine and not completely bury it under the other ingredients, capiche?)
Happy weekending, weirdos!
Fiesta Summer Salad with Grilled Romaine: (Serves 4)
2 ears corn, shucked
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 romaine hearts, tops and bottoms trimmed (just remove the top inch or so of the leaves and make sure the bottom is nice and clean), cut in half lengthwise
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 avocado, pitted peeled and diced or sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup crumbled tortilla chips (or more if you’re feeling wild)
For the dressing:
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotles canned in adobo
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Preparing your Fiesta Summer Salad with Grilled Romaine:
-Pre-heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
-Meanwhile, whip up the dressing. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Season with salt to taste and briefly set aside.
-Lightly brush the corn all over with olive oil and season with a little bit of salt. Place the ears of corn directly on the hot grill. Cook for 10-12 minutes, rotating the corn every 2-3 minutes, until the kernels deepen in color and are lightly charred in spots. Let cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to slice the kernels from each cob. Set aside.
-Moving on to the romaine. (If you have a large enough grill, you can cook the romaine and corn simultaneously!). Brush the cut-side of the romaine hearts lightly with olive oil. Place them on the grill, cut-side down.
-Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until grill marks appear and the leaves have softened slightly. Transfer the romaine to a serving platter or individual plates.
-Top with the grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
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