Years ago, before we were even engaged, my husband and I came to DC for a weekend of culture. I think we were celebrating our one-year anniversary, dating, of course. We went to dinner at a pretty famous steakhouse and then saw a play downtown. It was a great evening. And while the play was funny (it was supposed to be) and the steak was perfectly juicy, the part of the night that stands out most in my memory was the grilled salad. Yes. Grilled. Have you ever tasted grilled salad? I hadn't, and I was skeptical. And I loved it. Grilled Caesar salad. A heart of Romaine left whole (well, cut in half). The presentation was fabulous and that hint of grill flavor sent the dish over the top. I haven't had anything like it since. But I found this recipe online somewhere and it took me back. The combo of bacon and blue cheese cinched the deal! So, in honor of Valentine's Day, I am reliving that anniversary from so many years ago (really not that many, since we've been married just shy of six years now).
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Cracked black pepper, for garnish
Preheat a grill to high.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, stirring frequently, over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
Brush the cut sides of the lettuce halves with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and grill cut side down until seared, about 1 minute. Serve the lettuce cut side up. Top with the bacon dressing, blue cheese and pepper.