Abundant lettuce suddenly meets unseasonably hot, sunny weather. You know what happens. The lettuce is so stressed that instead of producing a lovely leafy head, it bolts. Seed production begins before the head has even formed.

We were just settling nicely into the salad season – spinach had finished, buttercrunch were coming along beautifully, romaines looked outstanding. For about ten days I had been harvesting buttercrunch lettuce by picking the outer leaves while they were small and tender. Then the heat wave. Buttercrunch was the first to bolt.

Bolting buttercrunch lettuce at 7:00 in the morning
Bolting buttercrunch lettuce at 7:00 in the morning

I hated to compost all those lettuce plants. Fortunately I remembered hearing a coworker talk about how much his family enjoyed grilled romaine as a summer side dish with their steaks. Why not try that with bolting buttercrunch?

The experiment was a success so I’m sharing it with you. If you don’t have bolting lettuce, you might like to try it using normal romaine hearts.

Step One: Wash the Lettuce

Wash the lettuce well, trim off any damaged outer leaves but keep as much of the tender centre stalk as you can.

Step Two: Cut the Lettuce in Half Lengthwise

Cut the lettuce in half lengthwise. Pat dry.

Step Three: Oil the Cut Side of the Lettuce Halves

Brush the lettuce halves with olive oil
Brush the cut side of the lettuce halves with olive oil.

Step Four: Grill the Lettuce Cut Side Down

Grill the lettuce cut side down on the hot barbecue for a couple of minutes, just until the outer edges of the leaves start to brown and crisp up.

Step Five: Serve and Enjoy

Grilled bolted buttercrunch lettuce ready to eat
Serve your grilled lettuce hot with salt, pepper. Add a side of salad dressing if desired.

Surprisingly delicious!