Lettuce is one of those veggies that people think you aren't supposed to roast. Whenever I talk about roast lettuce, I get some confused looks and some "how is that even possible?" remarks. But although it can be hard to conceptualize since lettuce is so darn watery, it's actually one of my favorite greens to roast. And it's so incredibly easy to make.
You'll need 1/2 a medium-sized lettuce per person as it shrinks down quite a bit in the oven. I use red leaf mainly (pictured here) but romaine also works well. It should be a hearty, flavorful lettuce with a deep green color. Avoid iceberg and Boston varieties. You'll also need about 1 tbsp of olive oil per half lettuce.
1. Cut the lettuce in half and remove any suspicious-looking outer leaves.
2. Wash gently with water to remove any dirt from between the leaves and then dry well with paper towel.
3. Place the halves inside-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Use a brush to baste each lettuce half with olive oil, making sure to get it in between the leaves. Be careful not to oversaturate the leaves or they'll just end up a greasy mess.
5. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper.
6. Place in a preheated 400F oven and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted and caramelized. The oven time will depend on the size of the lettuce so keep an eye on it the first time you try this recipe.
7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. I like to add a dollop of grainy mustard (look for gluten-free mustard!) and a side of pickled green tomatoes. If your grandmother doesn't make pickled green tomatoes every summer like mine does, you can serve your favorite pickled vegetable instead. I also like to sprinkle with shelled flax seeds or sometimes with good balsamic vinegar.
You can also do this on the BBQ!
Try making this recipe with radicchio and increase the cooking time to 30 minutes. It's a rich taste your guests will love.