Grillin’ It Is Akin to Killin’ It

Big changes have been afoot over here at Bacon HQ. You’ll be reading this recipe on the shiny new website on the shiny new web-server. Oooooh, aaaahhhh. And a lot of work was done on the house that I won’t bore you with (except to say that new homeowners get excited about weird shit y’all, like concrete and lighting fixtures and paving stones and new kitchen tables. Seriously. The BF kept turning the light on and off and then proudly asking, “Have you seen the new light fixture?” It was like watching man create fire but more endearingly adorable). So now it’s time to buckle down and bang out some recipes while I get comfortable with my new digs both online and off!

If I haven’t told you about my crush on Mark Bittman it’s likely because I didn’t want to come off as a creeper or adolescent girl. Bittman often writes for the New York Times and is a home cook’s best friend in that he isn’t a chef and likes it just fine that way, thank you. He’s also a big fan of grilling. It’s not so much that Mr. Bittman inspired this recipe as it is that reading his rants about grilling made me feel more exploratory and more willing to grill anything at least once, just to try it out.  And since I have a grill and a new beautiful patio and the glowing orb in the sky is cooperative, I say, let the grilling begin.

Grilled Romaine n’ Bacon
–4 slices of bacon, cut in half to make two chunks (I think an actual 1″ thick cut of bacon is better but my butcher didn’t have any)
–1 small onion, sliced into rings
–1 head of romaine, washed and dried and cut lengthwise in half
–2 TBSP olive oil
–1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
–fresh black pepper

I don’t have any tips for cooking with good ole fashioned charcoal–I’m not that fancy. But if you are I assume you know what the heck you’re doing already. I use a gas grill which distributes evenly and hot spots are (usually) avoided.

Place the bacon slab (or leave the four pieces as a slab) onto the grill, towards the side and back. The bacon grease tends to flame up, so I like setting the bacon away from some of the other veggies that I don’t want charred but keeping it on the side is helpful for easy access to flip and separate the slices when you’re ready to do so. The reason I like to start with the slab is simple: If the grill is too hot I’ll only blacken/potentially ruin one or two pieces of the bacon instead of eight.
Space the onion rings out on the grill and grill the bacon and the rings for a few minutes with the grill lid closed. Separate the bacon slices and spread them out so they grill evenly. Keep an eye on the bacon and the onion rings and turn each as needed to get good grill marks but not a hot blackened mess. The end goal is to have softened onion rings with pretty grill marks and bacon that is golden brown, with most of the fat cooked. If you need to cook in batches to accomplish this, s’ok, it should only add a few minutes to the cooking time; the nice thing about grilling is it usually goes pretty fast!
The romaine won’t take much time at all so add it on at the very last, making room on the grill as needed. Be sure to pull off any onion or bacon pieces as they cook. Turn the romaine once so that it is grilled on both sides. It’s okay if small pieces char, lettuce isn’t as cooperative at even grilling as some others.
Serve each wedge of romaine topped with the grilled onion rings. Use your food scissors to cut the bacon pieces into chunks over the salad. Mix the olive oil and vinegar together and drizzle over the top of each salad. Finish with a healthy dose of fresh cracked black pepper and eat!

Dammit Jim, I’m not a doctor…
Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2
Calories:  455 per serving

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