Summer Grill Out Series Pt 2- Grilled Romaine Salad

This salad is really the inspiration behind this whole meal in my Summer Grill Out Series.  We have a local restaurant that serves a salad very similar to this and I get it every single time I go, which says a lot since I usually prefer to vary up my menu selections.  The concept of grilling your salad is a complete game changer because it adds a smoky charred flavor that makes it something special. This particular salad also comes loaded with fried leeks and crispy prosciutto, which pack a pretty hefty punch in the flavor department themselves.  While this salad requires a bit more effort than your regular old garden variety salad (shameless pun), I can assure you it is totally worth it.  And, may I suggest making extra leeks and prosciutto so you can enjoy the deliciousness multiple nights in a row.  In the case of this salad, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

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Grilled Romaine Salad (serves 4)

Ingredients:

For Salad:

2 heads of romaine, halved

4 oz prosciutto

2 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 leeks, cleaned, halved and sliced in half moon shape

oil for frying

For vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp sugar

1 clove minced garlic

2 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp Herbs de Provence

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay prosciutto out on a baking sheet and bake until it begins to shrivel around the edges and get crispy (about 10-15 min).  Meanwhile, fill a pan with about 1 inch of frying oil (I like grape seed) until oil looks shiny and ripples across the top.  You can test the readiness by dropping a few leeks into the oil.  Once the oil is ready, fry the leeks in small batches for just about a minute and fish out with a slotted spoon.  Place the fried leeks on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.

Thoroughly mix all ingredients of the vinaigrette and set aside.  Brush romaine halves with oil and place on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes or until slightly charred.  Serve while still warm, topped with leeks, tomatoes, cheese and prosciutto.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and enjoy.

Summer Grill Out Series

  I think one of my favorite things about summer eating is firing up the grill and eating outside.  I love the casual feel of a meal enjoyed outdoors.   My kids can play on their jungle gym while I man the grill, and for some reason, the evening breeze always lures me to linger just a bit longer over my food than if I were sitting inside staring at my messy kitchen …go figure.     Recently, a few friends and I gathered together for a grill out meal and we enjoyed it so much that I decided to recreate it for my family and then share it with all of you.   This is quintessential summer meal for me–a fresh summer salad and a smoky grilled entree with a little appetizer to nibble on while everything cooks.   I’ll be sharing these recipes in a three part series and hopefully you will be inspired to get out, fire up the grill, and spend a little extra time over a meal with some of your favorite people. IMG_9005    In my opinion, a truly good meal is made even better with a little munchie you can enjoy while you cook.  This Italian white bean dip hits all the right notes for me.  It’s not overly heavy and the cool and creamy texture is the perfect accompaniment to warm pizza bread.  If you want to be extra virtuous, you can definitely serve this with veggies, but if you’re throwing in a salad with the meal, I say go for the pizza bread!

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Italian White Bean Dip and Pizza Bread

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley 

salt and pepper

1 tsp Italian seasoning (plus more for pizza crust if needed)

1 recipe of gluten free or regular pizza crust mix (I used the Namaste pizza crust mix)

Directions:

 Prepare the pizza crust according to the package directions.  If your mix is not already seasoned, I suggest adding 1 tsp Italian seasoning to the dough.  

  While the crust is baking, place beans, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and Italian seasoning in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse together until ingredients are combined and chunky.  Next, turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in olive oil until mixture is smooth and well combined.   If desired, drizzle additional olive oil on the top before serving.

  Cut pizza crust into small squares and serve warm along side the bean dip.

The Summer Face

I thought I would mix it up a little today and tell you what I’ve been wearing on my face lately.  In the summer, I like to use as few products as possible since the heat and humidity can cause heavier makeup to slide and cake up on your face. This summer, I am totally loving […]

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Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies

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Baby Boy’s Nursery

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Cheesecake Dip, Two Ways

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Nutella Chocolate Pudding

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Gluten Free Coconut Walnut Banana Bread

  I was perusing some of my fellow foodie blogs recently, and within a week, two of them posted about one of my favorite quick breads: banana bread.  However, they didn’t just stop with your plain ole’ banana walnut loaf.  They had to go and add coconut, one of my all time favorite foods.  I […]

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Italian Sausage, Noodle and Spinach Soup

Last week, the “real feel” in the Midwest was -40 degrees F.  I had a few appointments so I was forced to leave my house and within minutes my hands felt like I had been outside skiing for an entire day.  It was FREEZING!   And, while the temperatures have warmed up to a balmy […]

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Power Bites

Ok, I never thought I would say this, but I’m actually kind of getting sick of dessert.  You know it’s bad when you ask your kids what they would like for a snack and the only thing they can come up with is “a treat” or “chocolate.”  It’s definitely time to wind down off this […]

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