Grilled lettuce with goats' cheese
A great side dish for al fresco lunches. Lettuce usually takes a back seat but, when cooked well, its flavour is worth celebrating on its own.
Cut the lettuces in half leaving the base of the stem intact to hold the leaves together. Brush the lettuces with the olive oil, well-seasoned with salt and pepper.
Then place cut side down on a preheated barbecue rack or one of those cast iron griddle pans with raised ridges. Cook for 3-5 minutes. They are ready when the outer leaves are well-charred, striped from the grill and the thick stems are just becoming tender.
Arrange the 12 lettuce halves in a dish and lay over thin slices of the cheese. Add a few more twists of pepper and a drizzle of leftover olive oil. Throw in a hot oven or under a grill until the cheese starts to bubble.
Serve at once. Two lettuce halves, smothered in bubbling cheese, per person.