The first time I ever saw Grilled Caesar Salad on a menu was a number of years ago at Boca in Cincinnati. For the record, Boca is my absolute favorite spot in the city. I struggle to choose other options when it’s my turn to pick the spot for a nice dinner out. Their food is unfailingly amazing – most notably the seared scallops with caramelized brussels sprouts which are to-die-for good. So, when Grilled Caesar appeared on the menu, rather than thinking “WHAT?! Grilled LETTUCE? That’s insane.” I thought, “I have to try it.” And it did not disappoint. Grilling romaine wilts it slightly but deepens its flavor. Placing the newly smoky leaves atop grilled bread with a good smear of dressing takes it right over the top.
With that experience as context, you can imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe in a recent issue of Vegetarian Times! It went straight into that week’s meal plan and it was every bit as delicious as I’d hoped. This dressing is a vegetarian version, but if you have a favorite Caesar dressing recipe, by all means, feel free to substitute it. Grilled lettuce, who knew?!
Grilled Caesar Salad Tartines
Adapted from Vegetarian Times July/August 2011
3 1/2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 oz. for shaving into curls
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 romaine hearts, each halved
4 large slices crusty Italian bread, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 clove garlic, halved
vegetable oil or cooking spray for grill
1. Prepare grill grates by spraying with cooking spray or brushing with vegetable oil. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Whisk yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce together in a small bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. Brush this over romaine halves.
4. Grill romaine halves 6 minutes, turning once, or until brown around edges. Transfer to a platter.
5. Grill bread 1 minute on each side. Rub garlic halves over toast slices. Spread yogurt mixture on toast slices and top with grilled romaine halves. Shave Parmesan curls over top.