Who said lettuce can only be served cold as salad?  I found an enormous head of romaine at the farmers’ market and knew we could never eat it all as salad.  Here it is in all its glory, nicely charred, wilted down to toothsome tenderness, and dressed with a spicy sauce.  This quick recipe can also be made on the grill instead of in your oven, in which case just add the garlic to the sauce.  I made some noodles to go with this, and there was enough sauce to dress them as well.


1 ½ pounds romaine

5 cloves garlic, finely diced

3 tablespoons neutral oil

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 tablespoons vegan oyster sauce

½ to 1 teaspoons crispy chili oil (chili crisp – optional)

Nonstick cooking spray

2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


1.     Separate the romaine leaves, wash them, and drain them well.  Pat them dry with a kitchen towel.

2.     In a small bowl, make the sauce by whisking together the neutral oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chili crisp.  Set aside.

3.     Spread out the romaine leaves and garlic on your largest sheet pan.  Spray them lightly with nonstick spray, toss them around a little, and spray them again.

4.     Set your oven shelf about 5 inches below the broiler.  Broil the romaine in 2-minute increments, flipping them around a little each time so that all leaves eventually have some scorched spots.  This will take about 8 minutes or so.

5.     Remove the romaine to a serving platter, and be sure to add any bits of garlic from the sheet pan.

6.     Spoon the sauce over the romaine and garnish with the scallions.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.