To accompany the stuffed shells with eggplant, I wanted a salad appropriate for the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Something hearty for the (hopefully) cooler weather to come, that still let something of the warm evenings linger. I opted for this Smoky Romaine and Avocado Salad from Heather Christo, with a few modifications. First, I grilled the lettuce and the avocados for a late summer cookout touch. As a bonus, grilling softens up not-so-ripe avocados. I couldn’t find pepitos, so I added croutons instead for some crunch.
Grilling Romaine Lettuce:
- Get the grill really hot. Hotter than you think. Even hotter than that. You want to quickly char the outside without wilting the rest.
- Spray cooking oil all over the hearts of romaine. Place them on the grill until the outside blackens. Flip and repeat.
- Slice avocados in half and remove the pit.
- Spray cooking oil on the flesh of each avocado half. Place flesh-down onto the grill. Let the flesh get good and seared.
- Remove skins and dice.
Making the Salad:
- 3 head Romaine Hearts – Grilled
- 1 bag butter lettuce
- 4 avocados – Grilled then cubed
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 Bag Herbed Croutons
- 3 clove garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons agave
- 9 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 9 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt
- Roughly chop the grilled lettuce.
- Toss lettuces, avocado, and shallots together in a large bowl.
- Whisk the Smoky Vinaigrette together in a small bowl and then drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad.
- Sprinkle croutons over the top of the salad. Serve immediately.
(adapted from http://heatherchristo.com/2015/03/03/smoky-romaine-and-avocado-salad/ website)