Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grilled Iceberg Wedge with Pecans in a Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette and Other Popular Types of Lettuce

Did you know that lettuce belongs to the sunflower family? Lettuce is a plant that grows year-round, is native to the Mediterranean area and is believed to have been first cultivated around 4500 BC. Salad lettuce was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans and primitive heads were loose and leafy. Today there are many different varieties which contain several nutrients such as Vitamin A and C and minerals like calcium and iron. The highest nutrients come in the darker green, outer leaves and all lettuce is low in calories.

Here are some favorite types of lettuce...

Arugula
  • Look for long, bright green leaves on a thin stem
  • Tastes peppery with a slight bitter flavor
  • Adds a kick to other greens or compliments mild chicken or fish dishes
Butterhead
  • Look for loose heads with wide leaves
  • Tastes delicate with a hint of sweetness
Iceberg
  • Look for large, compact heads of light green leaves
  • Has a mild flavor and pairs nicely with stronger flavors
Leaf
  • Available in Red or Green leaf
  • Look for leaves that have curly edges and are loosely gathered around the stem
  • Has a crisp, mild nutty flavor
  • Can be used as a wrap with your favorite ingredients
Radicchio
  • Look for purplish leaves with white ribs on the small heads
  • Has a slightly bitter, crisp taste
  • You can grill or eat it raw and the sturdy leaves make a great substitution for a plate or bowl
Romaine
  • Look for large green outer leaves on a long head
  • This crunchy lettuce is mild and very versatile
Spinach
  • Look for flat, rounded dark green leaves with thin stems
  • Builds strong bones and better eyesight
  • Mild taste
I can't remember the last time I ate Iceberg lettuce, but it used to be the only kind my mother purchased while growing. Somewhere along the way, I started using Romaine as my go-to lettuce and never looked back. So while I was out shopping recently, I decided to purchase a head of Iceberg to try it out again.

I have seen wedge salads on many menus over the years, but never tried them. So I came up with my own version for lunch one day by first quartering the head, grilling it, then topping it with this Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette and pecans. It was deliciously filling and not only did it make a nice lunch, it would also make a lovely starter to a sit down meal.

Grilled Iceberg Wedge with Pecans in a Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
Prep Time:  15 minutes           Yield: 4
Cook Time:  5 minutes            Serving: 1
Total Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients
For the Salad:
  • 1 Head Iceberg Lettuce
  • Prepared Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 c. Pecans, chopped or whole
For the Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tbsp. Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 tbsp. Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, removed from stem
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
Directions
For the Salad:
  1. Remove the core from the lettuce by pounding the base on a flat surface; then pull out the core. Run cold water through the lettuce and allow to drain. Pat with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. 
  2. Cut the head of lettuce in half, then in half again. You should have four equal quarters.  
  3. Heat your grill (I used an indoor Cuisinart) and grill your lettuce approximately 4-5 minutes; until you have slight grill marks
  4. Place the lettuce on a plate, drizzle about 1-2 tbsp. of dressing on top; then top with pecans. 
For the Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette:
  1. Add the vinegar, oil, garlic, thyme and goat cheese to a mini food chopper or blender and pulse until all ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 177, Carbs 5.8g, Fat 16.6g, Protein 2.9g, Fiber 1.6g, Sugar 3.4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

Enjoy! 

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4 comments:

  1. This came at a great time. I've been on a big salad kick for the last couple of weeks. I could literally have one every single day.

    I load it up with sunflower seeds or walnuts or chow mein noodles or pineapple or raisins or anything I can find in the pantry to toss in there.

    This is perfect...thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carrie and I do the same thing with my salads. I like to have a lot of different textures in there.

      Delete
  2. One Word! YUM!
    Anything with pecans are just simply delish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it Gghie! I love pecans as well, they really add a lovely flavor to most recipes. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete

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