Lettuce Entertain You

Did you grow up with iceberg lettuce as the main ingredient in salads and side dishes? Don’t get me wrong, iceberg is the go-to leaf when making a lettuce wrap, but to quote Rachael Ray (RR), “when it comes to nutrition, romaine leaves iceberg out in the cold.”

A few fun facts:

Vitamin K (may help regulate insulin) – A cup of romaine has nearly three times more vitamin K than a cup of iceberg. (RR)

Vitamin A (helps regulate immunity) – You’ll get 11 times more vitamin A in a cup of romaine. (RR)

Lutein & Zeaxanthin (promotes eye health) – Romaine has five times more lutein and zeaxanthin than iceberg. (RR)

Antioxidants –  The antioxidants contained within romaine lettuce are believed to help prevent cancer. (Wikipedia)

Eleven – The number of days it takes to regrow romaine. You can grow it from a stem end in a jar in an inch of water in a sunny spot in your house. (RR)

1924 – The year Caesar Salad became popular – by mixing eggs, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, croutons, Parmesan and romaine. Caesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico was visited by celebrities like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Carole Lombard who contributed to making this dish famous. (RR) Here is a link to 8 Caesar Salad recipes. 

If you’ve been to Costco or a local superstore and purchased the 6-pack of romaine or 4-pack of another variety of lettuce, you may want to check out The Kitchn for 10 Ways To Eat Lettuce Besides Salad.  This blog’s recipes use several lettuce varieties including romaine.

One recipe that particularly interested me was Braised Romaine Lettuce Crostinis. It looked easy and tasty, although I would probably substitute the goat cheese ingredient with my fresh ricotta – just because. 

In the summer I make a grilled romaine salad with grilled corn which is a house and guest favorite. I’ll post that recipe in a few months. In the meantime, here’s a recipe from Saveur that you can make today!

Grilled Romaine, Blue Cheese and Bacon

Yields 4-6 Servings

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  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled


  1. Heat bacon in a skillet over medium heat, and cook, turning once, until crisp and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer bacon to a plate, reserving 2 tbsp. drippings, and let cool; crumble and set aside.
  3. Put reserved drippings in a bowl, and add oil, vinegar, and Worcestershire; whisk until smooth, and set dressing aside.
  4. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.)
  5. Working in batches, if necessary, place romaine halves cut-side down on grill, and cook, turning once, until charred and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
  6. Transfer lettuce cut-side up to a serving platter, and season with salt and pepper; drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with reserved bacon and blue cheese.


Author: Saveur


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