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Camping Gone Gourmet Side: Grilled Lettuce

The next time you're camping, serve grilled lettuce instead of a predictable side salad. Grilled lettuce makes for an excellent twist on a salad and it's deliciously crisp. Make the blue cheese dressing and bacon crumbles before you leave for the campground and pack both in your cooler with the lettuce. Grill the lettuce like you would any other veggie and pair with sliced tri-tip or barbecued chicken. It's the perfect camping gone gourmet side, so check out the recipe

Grilled Lettuce With Blue Cheese Dressing
From Fine Cooking magazine
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For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk; more as needed
6 oz. crumbled blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Danish Blue; more to taste
1-1/2 Tbs. finely grated shallot
1 clove finely grated garlic
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
For the salad:
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, bases trimmed but left intact, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (preferably applewood)

  1. Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, stir the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, blue cheese, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors develop. Before using, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. The dressing will thicken as it sits and may need to be thinned with more milk.
  2. Prepare the salad: once the dressing is chilled, heat a gas grill to medium low or prepare a medium-low charcoal fire. Be sure the grate is hot, too.
  3. Lightly brush olive oil all over the romaine hearts, taking care not to break the leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the lettuce cut side down on the grate, directly over the heat. Grill until the outer leaves are charred and wilted and the lettuce is warm and just barely tender all the way through to the core, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill.
  5. Transfer the lettuce to a clean platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. To serve: place half a heart of romaine, cut side up, on each plate, top with about 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese dressing, or more to taste, and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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