Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grilled Caesar Salad


We've all ordered the classic Caesar Salad when in the mood for the perfect light-ish lunch, haven't we? As the days are getting warmer, the sun shining longer and our outdoor barbecues begging to be used, why not try something a little different?

Grilling lettuce is one of those easy tricks to turn a simple Caesar salad into a real treat. The charred romaine becomes slightly caramelized when grilled and adds wonderful flavor to the dish. Homemade dressing just puts this over the top. This is my way to welcome Spring, what's yours?

Grilled Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing
(serves 4)

2 small romaine hearts
¼ cup of croutons
4 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons of shaved Parmesan
Dressing:
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
1 small garlic clove, smashed into a paste
¼ cup of olive oil
¼ cup of grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
To make the dressing, add the egg yolk, mustard, anchovy paste and garlic in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture looks homogeneous. Slowly add the oil, continuously whisking. Make sure that the oil gets well incorporated. Add the Parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Cut the bacon in small strips and sauté on medium high heat. You don’t need to add oil to the pan as the bacon has enough natural fat. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crisp. Place the bacon strips on paper towels to soak up excess fat. Reserve.
Set your barbecue or indoor grill to medium high heat. Cut the romaine hearts in half, vertically. Grill the romaine hearts (placing the inside of the romaine down) for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set on your serving platter. Add the croutons, bacon strips and shaved Parmesan and drizzle with the dressing.

26 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Oooh, looks lovely!!

Rachael said...

I love grilling lettuce! You've just inspired me to post my grilled lettuces with balsamic dressing recipe...maybe when the weather warms up. This looks delicious!

Joie de vivre said...

I have yet to try grilling lettuce, but I'm determined to when I get the grill out. Thanks for the inspiration!

Elyse said...

This sounds so delicious. I love grilled romaine, and with this homemade dressing, I bet it's out of this world! I can't wait to do this. Yay for spring! Yay for grilling!

zested said...

Wonderful idea, and beautiful photo. I haven't made ceasar in ages, but this inspires me to bring it back out this spring. Thanks!

Sweet Charity said...

I love grilled romaine, and this is my favorite kind of caesar salad.

Ingrid said...

oh, yum, that looks so good my children love caesar salad...grilling it would make for a delicious change as well as stepping it up with homemade dressing!
~ingrid

lisa (dandysugar) said...

This is a great idea. I have yet to try grilling lettuce but it sounds and looks great! Thanks for sharing this fabulous idea!

MaryBeth said...

The flavors in this must be outstanding...

Ash said...

I love this!! what a good idea! I'm gonna try it!

sunita said...

Hi! i think it's my first time here,andi must ssay that i'm bowled over by your photography anf presentation...simply gorgeous :-)

unconfidentialcook said...

We used to have this a lot, but not recently so thanks for lifting it out of the memory-loss bank. I add fresh lemon juice to the dressing....

Deborah said...

This makes me excited to pull out the grill!

CookiePie said...

I had grilled romaine at a dinner party for the first time a few months ago and it was FANTASTIC!! Yours looks so lovely!

Junglefrog said...

What a great idea to grill lettuce! Right now the weather is really terrible here, after a couple of days of sunshine it seems even harder to bear... So no spring dishes yet, untill we have more sunshine!

Peter M said...

Nicely done! I saw this done once before but you yielded much nicer results. Is it summer yet?

Dawn said...

yours came out so perfectly! nice and clean. I've never tasted this (yet), but it looks tasty.

Summer said...

I have never even thought to grill the lettuce first, but that picture makes it look really good!

Summer

squirrelbread said...

I've seen this concept once before and thought it was brilliant. Your photos are lovely, and now I'm ready to try this!

Thanks and cheers,

*Heather*

nick said...

For some reason, EVERY time I try this I end up with limp-noodle romaine hearts. Yours really looks fantastic, and the dressing sounds just about right. I think the original version might have used limes instead of lemons and the current trend may be due to a mistranslation of "limon" in Spanish to "lemon" in English, by Julia Child. I wrote a post about it a while back.

Way to make me feel bad about my lettuce grilling abilities AND make motivate me to give it another go all in one swoop. Thanks (I think) :)

Chocolate Shavings said...

nick: I think the key is to grill the romaine hearts pretty quicky to prevent them from getting too wilted.. let me know if you give it another try!

Sophie said...

This is lovely, I like how the simple ingredients have a touch of elegance. The colors and textures contrast beautifully :).

nick said...

Update: Excellent advice. I tried again with a smoking hot grill pan lined with grape seed oil and about 20-30 seconds worth of heat did the job w/o any wilting. Thank you!

matt wright said...

The best caesar I have ever seen.

Hungry Gal said...

I read about a grilled caesar salad recently in Bon Appetit magazine but your picture has thoroughly convinced me that I should make this right away.

vanillalemonade.com said...

Love grilling the lettuce! And you are right- Make your own dressing!

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