The perfect end-of-summer meal, when it’s warm enough to eat outdoors, but not so cold that you’ve retired your grill. This salad uses only black olives and Ricotta Salata—a fresh, salty Italian cheese—for dramatic appeal, but you can add avocado and tomato to make a more rounded meal. The olives and cheese are so salty, you likely won’t need additional salt for seasoning.
2 hearts of romaine lettuce
1/3 cup olive oil, plus additional for brushing
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup kalamata or salt-cured black olives
4 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese
1 large avocado, peeled and cubed (optional)
1 pint small cherry tomatoes (optional)
Lightly oil grill racks and preheat grill to medium high.
Cut romaine heads in half, brush all surfaces of each half with olive oil, and grill for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
While lettuce is grilling, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with vinegar, garlic, parsley, shallots, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
To serve, arrange one lettuce half on each of four individual plates. Scatter olives over top. Pour dressing over salad, scatter with cheese, avocado and tomato, if desired, and serve immediately.