Today I’m writing you from balmy Seattle, where the hubby and I brought the kids for a week to soak up some humidity-free sunshine and spend time with extended family to close out our summer. And what a summer it’s been. This summer I fell in love — hard — with our grill, thanks to David Guas. We spent a sweaty few days in Charleston only to grieve with our friends and former neighbors over a terrible tragedy. I went to Wooster, Ohio and learned about the glory that is Certified Angus Beef. And yes, I have many, many plans to eat my way through Seattle. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, for the last few months, I’ve been messing around in my kitchen with Castello’s Saga blue brie. It’s a decadent creamy brie, spiked with all the bite and earthiness of a really great blue cheese. Basically, Castello Saga blue brie is the genius creation of someone out there in the Castello universe who thought, “How can I make two really amazing cheeses taste even better? By MASHING THEM TOGETHER.” I’m not a fan of genetically modified superfruits, but when it comes to hybrid cheeses, I’m all in. In celebration of all things blue cheese, Castello is sponsoring a “summer of blue” with the Castello Bluesday Tuesday campaign this summer that I’m proud to be a part of. My post today will be one in a series of bloggers’ posts featuring Castello blue cheese products on Honest Cooking.
Today’s recipe is an easy grilled romaine salad garnished with summer ripe nectarines, crispy bacon and slightly-melted dabs of Castello Saga blue brie. The blue brie melts very easily, creating a rich “dressing” for the grilled romaine that needs nothing but a little heat from the grill.
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Earlier this summer, a friend showed me how lightly-oiled romaine lettuce hearts, when charred on the grill, can turn an otherwise humdrum salad into a spectacular showpiece. He threw his romaine hearts on the grill, letting them char a bit on each side, before tossing some hearty chunks of blue cheese on top of them and letting the heat from the just-grilled romaine hearts soften the cheese a bit. The result was a smoky, creamy, crispy mouthful.
Back at home, I wondered how I could punch up the grilled romaine hearts to make a filling weekday side. We’ve been buying a lot of nectarines this summer, and so the other day, with a dozen rolling around in our fruit bowl, I sliced up a bunch of fresh, juicy nectarines as an accompaniment. To further bring out the smokey goodness, I added some crispy bacon, too. The result was a filling, hearty salad that needed no dressing. The blue brie melted into a creamy sauce, and my favorite part about eating this summery, satisfying concoction was swirling slightly charred leaves in pools of saucy blue brie. Basically, this salad is summer on a plate — smoky, steamy, sweet and just a little bit heartbreaking.
In other words, magic.
For your own Castello Bluesday Tuesday, be sure to check out Castello USA’s many ideas for using their products here, and also check out Honest Cooking’s other recipes featuring Castello cheeses here.
- 4 romaine lettuce hearts
- 2 ripe nectarines, sliced and skin-on
- 6 strips bacon
- 6 ounces Castello saga blue brie
- 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Do ahead: wash romaine lettuce hearts thoroughly. Cut in half lengthwise and dry on paper towels (let dry as much as possible).
- Place bacon on an ungreased foil-lined baking sheet and place in oven. Turn on oven to 350 degrees and set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven and carefully drain off the bacon grease into a melt-resistant container (preferably glass). Return baking sheet to oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until bacon is crispy. Remove baking sheet from oven, drain bacon grease again, and, using tongs, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
- Using a sharp knife, cut blue brie into large chunks (approximately ½-inch wide).
- Heat oiled grill to 350 degrees.
- Rub romaine hearts all over with olive oil. Place romaine hearts, cut side down, on grill and cook, turning once, for about a total of 4 minutes (until romaine is charred).
- Remove from grill and season with salt and pepper. Immediately sprinkle blue brie on top while romaine hearts are hot. Garnish with nectarine slices and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.