Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to Grill Lettuce with Chocolate Balsamic Dressing - Steven Raichlen Recipe

This is a great, fun and VERY easy recipe. Located on page 370 of Steven's amazing grill guide, How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques.

After a day of reviewing a S'More recipe that every girl scout knows, it is back to much more interesting and challenging recipes. I have been dropping a chunk of lettuce on the grill for awhile now. A quick drizzle of olive oil, and 3 minutes on a hot grill will add a bit of carmalization to the taste that will set your salads apart.

As expected, Steven takes this method up a notch and encourages unusual lettuce variety, and provides a wonderful dressing that really brings out the taste.
First is the prep. I bought a head of RADICCHIO lettuce (the red one, no it is not cabbage). And a head of ENDIVE lettuce. I quartered these (the book calls for serving a halve a head of lettuce, but I thought that was too much). When you prepare these for the grill, be sure to leave the heart of the lettuce attached to the leaves. This prevents them from separating. I used my handy dandy grill proof rubber bands I have talked about before to also hold them together. The book advocates using toothpicks to keep everything together. Once again, the bands are washable, reusable and work better than toothpicks. I will put a link to them on AMAZON at the bottom of the page, they are great for many things.
My grill was set for indirect heating. I was grilling some lamb chops that you will hear about soon. So I let these cook for about 10 minutes total, 3 minutes per side.
I drizzled a bit of the dressing on while they cooked.
Right before serving, I gave them a good soaking of the dressing... The radicchio I was able to dunk, the endive i drizzled.
This is good eating!

The dressing is called VENETIAN SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE. It is equal parts Balsomic Vinegar and honey as a base; with a generous amount of pine nuts, garlic, raisons and butter. The unusual ingredient is a small amount (only 1 ounce) of semisweet chocolate! It was a great addition. No one was able to spot the ingredient, but when they were told, everyone certainly could taste the chocolate once it was revealed.

I LOVED this recipe and technique. This deserves a HUGE 5 on my scale of 1 to 5. It is very dramatic to pull a salad off the grill. the presentation is terrific, and the dressing is among the best i have ever had. I can not possibly recommend this more. One possibly alteration, the radicchio lettuce was a bit too bitter compared to the endive. In the future, I will probably just make the endive. But the red radicchio certainly made a great presentation.
Oddly enough, no dessert was planned, but as much as i made fun of them yesterday, I was asked to have S'Mores again.
Real men wear pink on their way to the dinner cruise on their anniversary.


  1. Yum!!!! Balsamic anything is good.

  2. I keep meaning to try the grilled lettuce/cabbage techniques, but haven't as of yet. This one sounds delish! And I think you look very handsome in pink. You two are adorable :D

  3. Interesting... You know, I can just imagine how well the balsamic dressing tasted with the chocolate. I love lamb, so I'm looking forward to reading about the chops. BTW, LOVE the pink shirt! You are very fashionable. :)

  4. Real men wear pink AND cook ;) Thanks for linking up. Will be coming' back!

  5. You are a dish in pink, no question, grins. Love the picture of you and your beloved.

    Would love to try bok choy grilled like this.

  6. Love the chocolate in your dressing... it makes its way into a lot of dishes in my house.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You can still enter the Hatch chile contest cause I haven't posted the round-up yet. :)

  7. What an interesting and unique recipe. Looks fabulous! Great photo of ya'll.