With the recent abrupt onset of summer, our grill has been getting some good use lately. Although I love grilling vegetables (asparagus, potatoes, eggplant, and portabellas are among my favorites), I kept my greens off the flames until today. I’m happy to report a new vegetable will now be part of the regular rotation. The parmesan basil crisps on top of the lettuce add the necessary crunch. Also, parmesan cheese might be one of the best foods out there and making these crisps seemed like a fun experiment to try on this quiet Sunday.
The crisps can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container. Hopefully you make a few extra because you’ll want to taste a few right away, just in case.
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 T julienned basil
- 2 large heads of romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, cleaned and patted dry, and sliced lengthwise down the middle
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
For the crisps…
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine cheese and basil.
- Put a heaping tablespoon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten gently.
- Continue to add more tablespoons of the cheese mixture, leaving a bit of space between each one.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Allow to cool, and then remove with a flat spatula.
For the lettuce…
- Once your lettuce is dry, you’re good to go.
- Heat grill to medium-high
- Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside for a few minutes so that the oil gets garlicky.
- Brush both sides of the lettuce with the oil mixture, starting with the rounded side and then doing the flat side of the lettuce.
- Place the romaine heads flat side down on the grill.
- After 2-3 minutes (check for a nice browning), flip the lettuce 1/3 way. Repeat again after 2-3 minutes more. Do it again until the lettuce is nicely browned all over.
- Serve with crisps.
This recipe separates the dark leaves from the lighter heads of the bok choy. The heads are grilled, but the leaves are sautéed. The result is a great combination of textures and flavors.
For an Asian-flavored variation, use soy sauce instead of balsamic vinegar, orange juice instead of lemon juice, and sesame seeds instead of pine nuts.
Thanks to Eat Drink Better for this recipe!
- 3 heads of baby bok choy
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (not minced)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- Handful of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
- Romano cheese, grated
- Slice heads of baby bok choy in half length-wise (leaves to stem). Soak in cool water for 10 minutes to perk them up and remove any grit hidden inside. While heads soak, heat olive oil in small frying pan. Add thinly sliced garlic and stir until just golden brown (about 1 minute). With a slotted spoon, remove garlic to a paper towel and take pan off heat.
- Take baby bok choy out of water and gently shake/pat dry. Slice off upper dark green parts of the leaves from the lighter heads. Coarsely chop leaves and set to the side. Brush both sides of heads with garlic-infused oil. Place with cut side up and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Place seasoned heads on grill heated to medium with cut side down. Cover grill for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove cover and turn heads over. There should be a nice golden color starting to appear. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over cut sides of heads. Cover again for 5 minutes.
- Remove cover and turn heads one last time back to the cut side. Remove from grill when fork-tender.
- After flipping the heads the first time, heat up the remaining oil in the small fry pan. When hot, add pine nuts or walnuts and toast slightly for a minute or two. Add chopped baby bok choy leaves and salt and pepper. Stir constantly until wilted, but still very green (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat.
- To assemble the dish, put heads on plate and top with leaves, nuts and a sprinkle of cheese. Add more balsamic vinegar if desired.