Grilling the romaine lettuce gives a unique depth of flavor that takes an ordinary salad to a new level. Simply adding olive oil and balsamic and letting the salad sit while you finish making dinner makes an easy dish seem so complex.

6 hearts of romaine, cut in half lengthways, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon kosher or flake salt, 1 tablespoon pepper. Char for 10 seconds. Chop roughly. 

Pork belly: Smoke in applewood for 20 minutes, then braise in apple juice for 2 hours. Cut in chunks and pan fry for about 10 minutes until browned and crispy. Put pork belly croutons in bottom of bowl.

Balsalmic dressing: Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Lay charred lettuce over and let it sit until ready to serve. 

Invert salad bowl onto plate so that the pork belly and dressing end up on top.

Sprinkle with cheese mixture: 1/4 cup grated rosemary Asiago cheese,  1/4 cup grated fontina cheese, and  1/4 cup grated pecorino romano. Drizzle with additional 2 tablespoons balsamic and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

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Written by Chef John O'Neil

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