elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: parmesan


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. 

Thanks to Grillin’ Fools for the lettuce method, and to Giada for the crisp method.


  • 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…

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine cheese and basil.
  3. Put a heaping tablespoon on  a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten gently.
  4. Continue to add more tablespoons of the cheese mixture, leaving a bit of space between each one.
  5. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  6. Allow to cool, and then remove with a flat spatula.

For the lettuce…

  1. Once your lettuce is dry, you’re good to go.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high
  3. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside for a few minutes so that the oil gets garlicky.
  4. Brush both sides of the lettuce with the oil mixture, starting with the rounded side and then doing the flat side of the lettuce.
  5. Place the romaine heads flat side down on the grill.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve with crisps.

Hide your alfalfa…This recipe might make all other sprouts jealous.

GQ just named Brooklyn the coolest city on the planet (the whole PLANET, people), which is exciting because I did not realize that our borough had become an independent city once again. Also, I have a good feeling that this eponymous recipe will really catch on since the “city” I call home was given this honor by the same magazine that has articles which explain, “How to Dump Her Like a Man.”

I got the method for this recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. A few changes: he calls for balsamic vinegar, which I omitted. Also, I added the pine nuts and parmesan, and sliced the garlic (he suggested leaving the garlic cloves whole).


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, cut into thick slices (3-5 slices per clove)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese (the “real” kind with the name imprinted on the rind)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Trim the hard edge of the stem from the Brussels sprouts, then cut each in half through its axis. Put the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, arrange the sprouts in one layer, cut side down. Toss in the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, undisturbed, until the sprouts begin to brown, 5-10 minutes, then transfer to the oven. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sprouts are quite brown and tender. (Bittman recommends 30 minutes, but I typically take them out of the oven in 15-20. I think it really depends on the size of your sprouts.)
  3. While the sprouts of cooking, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the pine nuts in the dry skillet for a few minutes, shaking frequently to avoid burning. Remove from heat once the pine nuts are lightly browned and fragrant.
  4. Put the sprouts mixture in a serving dish, and sprinkle with the pine nuts and cheese. Serve hot or warm.