Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

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I find that food tastes exponentially better when made and eaten outside, especially on a warm summer night. It is pretty hard to beat a summer BBQ.  Now that we live in Nashville, I plan on spending all my free nights soaking up the warm Southern evening air.

I know when people think about BBQs they think of heavy (but delicious) cuts of slow cooked meat. Well I am all for that, but sometimes I love using the grill (specifically our Traeger ) to take vegetables to the  next level. Enter romaine lettuce. A somewhat boring salad green that is elevated to the next level of deliciousness when lightly charred. The charring adds just a bit of flavor but since it is cooked for only a minute, the lettuce says crispy. 

Today I am creating a play on the traditional Caesar salad by serving the Romaine with grilled lemons, crispy store bought Parmesan crisps, crunchy croutons, and of course homemade Caesar salad. 


Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

For the salad dressing: 

  • 6 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

For the salad

  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, cut in half 
  • 1 cup croutons 
  • 1/2 cup store bought Parmesan crisps
  • 2 lemons, cut in half 
  • salt and pepper 

Make the salad dressing by placing the anchovies and garlic on a cutting board. Sprinkle with a little salt and using the back of a chef's knife, scrape it over the mixture to make a paste. Place the paste in a medium bowl and top with the egg yolks, mustard, and olive oil. Whisk well to combine. Drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl whisking constantly until the dressing is thick and glossy. Fold in Parmesan cheese and taste for salt and pepper.  Dressing can be made up to 1 day before serving. 

To make the salad preheat a grill to medium high (or 400F. if you grill has a temperature gage). Brush the cut sides of lemons with olive oil. Place the lemons cut side down and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Brush the cut side of the romaine lettuce with olive oil. Place cut side down and grill for about 1 minute or until the lettuce is lightly charred but not wilted throughout. Remove the lettuce and carefully chop into bite sized peieces. Toss the lettuce with croutons and Parmesan crisps, and a large drizzle of the salad dressing. Serve the charred lemons along side the salad. 

Makes 4 servings.