Grilled Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
I love Caesar salads, so when I saw a grilled version years ago in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I would make it one day. That day finally came! I didn’t follow Cooking Light’s recipe, but the inspiration for my Grilled Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons certainly came from there. I figured this isn’t rocket science, so I decided to wing it. 😀 Grilled romaine is slightly wilted, with a mild, charred flavor. It was my first grilled salad, and I just loved it! The grilled romaine was topped with my homemade Caesar dressing, croutons, and shaved parmesan. I’m telling you, this is one crave-worthy salad! :tounge:
This salad really couldn’t be easier, and let me state right now, this doesn’t have to take place outside on your grill! I used my grill pan indoors, and it was perfect. I simply halved some hearts of romaine and brushed a tiny bit of olive oil over each side. I grilled them over medium heat for 2-3 minutes a side, or until slightly wilted with nice grill marks. Gotta have those grill marks! 😉
I had roasted garlic artisan bread leftover from my Caprese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Drizzle, so I used it to make homemade croutons. Homemade croutons are so rustic and toasty. I had to keep the nibblers away from them or there would’ve been none left for this salad, and in my book, is isn’t a Caesar unless there are croutons! Just cut the bread into 1″ cubes and either cook them in olive oil on the stove top until they’re golden brown and toasty, or toast them in the oven. I use the stove top method because I think it’s much easier since the croutons need to get tossed frequently to ensure even toasting.
I’m very particular about my Caesar dressing. I like it to be fresh, with a salty bite, and not thick and gloppy like you get in many restaurants. I don’t use mayo, and I don’t use egg yolks…I’m just not comfortable using raw eggs in my dressing! I used some Meyer lemon juice that I had left over, and here’s the ingredient that gives it that nice, salty bite that I love — anchovy. I prefer to use anchovy paste, but I didn’t have any, so I pulverized two anchovy fillets with the rest of the dressing ingredients in my food processor. It was delicious! You can’t tell there’s anchovy in it, but it does lend a saltiness that really stands out. 🙂
If you love Caesar salad, then you really need to try it grilled. It’s different, and just special. Treat yourself to a salad that’s sure to become one that you keep going back to again and again. It’s a classic with a modern twist! 🙂
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ loaf bread (French or your favorite crusty, Artisan bread), cut into 1" cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife and skins removed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 4 anchovy fillets or 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- (3) hearts of Romaine, washed and halved lengthwise
- ⅓ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and salt to the pan and cook, tossing frequently, until the bread cubes are golden brown, and toasty, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, anchovy fillets, and dijon mustard. Pulse together until well incorporated. Turn the food processor on and add the olive oil in a steady stream until all of it has been added. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pulse once or twice more. Set aside.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush both sides of the lettuce very lightly with the olive oil. Grill the romaine hearts face down for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly charred and grill marks appear. Turn the romaine over, and cook on the other side for about 2 more minutes or until slightly wilted. Place on a platter. Sprinkle croutons around the platter, drizzle with dressing, and top with shaved parmesan. Serve immediately!
I doubled the dressing recipe so you would have leftovers. You'll be glad you do!
Recipe by Flavor the Moments