Grilled Romaine with Avocado Tomatillo Dressing

Add smoky depth and a glossy finish to corn and crisp romaine hearts with a quick char. A super tasty, gluten- and dairy-free summertime main topped with crab and a creamy avocado tomatillo dressing. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Kim Peterson



  • 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
  • ½ lb tomatillos, 4-5, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • ½ an avocado, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning or Old Bay
  • teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 3 ears corn, husked
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 large romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
  • 8 ounces heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Bring shallot, tomatillos, jalapeño, garlic, and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until onion is very tender, 7-9 minutes. Let cool slightly. Drain, reserve cooking liquid.

  2. Puree onion mixture with avocado, cilantro, 2 tablespoons reserved liquid, lime zest and juice in a blender. With motor running, gradually add oil and blend until thick and smooth, about 45 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 2 cups. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine crabmeat, lime zest and juice, salt, Cajun seasoning, and ground pepper. Set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  2. Heat grill over medium heat. Coat corn with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Grill, turning every few minutes, until charred on all sides, about 12 minutes total. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels from the cob and place in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Brush remaining oil evenly over cut sides of romaine hearts. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Place lettuce cut-side down on grill. Grill until charred but not burned, about 1 minute. Turn romaine hearts and grill other side for 30 seconds. Place romaine halves on a large platter or individual plates. Top with crabmeat, corn, sliced tomatoes, and Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.