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Grilled Romaine and Steamed Cod

June 29, 2011

THIS POST APPEARED ORIGINALLY AT GRILLHACKS.COM, SEE IT HERE.

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I get it, you’re asking yourself two questions right now: WTF is grilled Salad? And why is there steamed cod on grillhacks? Answers to follow.

Grilling romaine lettuce is a surprisingly delicious way to eat salad. To many the thought of semi-wilted salad greens is anathema to a quality meal, but I’m here to tell you those people are foolish. Romaine lettuce holds up especially well to all manner of cooking including braising and grilling. And I like the steamed fish as a nice counterpoint to the smoky char of the grilled lettuce.  It’s also something that can easily be done on a side burner if you’re using a gas grill, or in a steamer setup over coals.  Any number of poultry combinations could work here too…heck, even a hanger steak isn’t too much for grilled romaine.

Taking off from Adam’s earlier post I skewed way East in this iteration of my grilled salad, as you will see below.  Please try this at home, you will not be disappointed.

Here’s what you need:

16-20 oz. of line caught uber-fresh cod, cut into four even pieces.

1 head romaine lettuce.  Choose a stout one with a firm center.  Flabby leafy ones need not apply.

1 lemon, juiced

1 knob of ginger about 1″ long

Ichimi Togarashi (Japanese chili flakes)

Soy Sauce

Fish sauce

Sesame oil

Olive oil

Salt

Toasted sesame seeds and furikaki for garnish

Here’s what you do:

Start a pot of water with a steamer basket setup over low heat so that it’s ready when you need it.  Get your grill nice and hot.  In this instance, I was cooking indoors, so I used my Jade gas grill and a standard steamer basket in a stockpot.

Gently rinse your fish under cool water.  Set into a container and cover with 2″ of cold water, add 1 tablespoon fine sea salt and let stand 15 minutes while you prepare your salad and dressing.

Halve your romaine lettuce LENGTHWISE taking care to cut evenly through the core.

Then cut the halves in half again, again carefully keeping the core intact.  This is critical as it will allow your lettuce to grill without falling into bits.  Plunge the hearts into a sink full of cold water.  Douse them over and over carefully, and then let them float a few minutes while you work on the dressing.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, 2T sesame oil, a healthy splash of soy and fish sauces and a good pinch of ichimi.  Grate your ginger on a microplane and then SQUEEZE the pile of shredded ginger over the bowl.  We just want the ginger juice, not the fibers!  Add 1/4T olive oil to balance the sharpness of the chili, ginger and lemon, and taste and adjust as needed.  Let stand.

Remove the lettuce from the water, shaking off the excess, and let them stand upright in a mixing bowl to drain further.

Remove the pieces fish from the brine and pat dry, let stand on a paper towel nearby as you will be cooking them shortly.  Turn the heat up to med-high on your steamer.

Generously douse your romaine lettuce with sesame and olive oil, season with salt and place them cut-side down on the grill.  Do not move them for one to two minutes as you need them to get an initial char.

Put a few drops of sesame oil on your fish and sprinkle with ichimi.  Place gently into your steamer and lower the heat back to medium.  We want a nice gentle steam for about 5 -7 minutes.

Turn your lettuce and check for markings and char.  Flip to the backside for another few minutes.  Check your fish.

When lettuce is done, remove from grill and plate.  Remove fish from steamer and add to the lettuce.  Generously spoon the sesame dressing throughout the four servings, and garnish with sesame seeds and furikaki.

If it were up to me, I’d be drinking a Hitachino Wheat to go along with this meal…but at like $5/12oz bottle, holy cow, you may want to stick to something local.  Either way, have fun!

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