Grilled Caesar Salad with Gluten-Free Croutons

grilled caesar saladGrilled Caesar Salad—because grilling is one of the easiest ways to put a fresh twist on a classic. And Caesar salad, an uber classic, is as welcome at a backyard BBQs as sit-down dinners. But, for Grilled Caesar Salad, select small, compact Romaine hearts, ideally about six inches in length. Anything bigger, anything floppy, skip it. Those greens simply won’t hold up to the heat of the grill.

Grilled Caesar Salad with Parmesan Chickpea Croutons

Yield: 6 appetizer servings

Just a few minutes on the grill sets this salad apart from the ‘same-
 same’ Caesar. Although they require last-minute preparation, Parmesan Chickpea Croutons can be made ahead and make for a festive topping.

Anchovies?!
  If you’re not accustomed to cooking with anchovies—keep an open mind! They deliver unparalleled umami and that quintessential Caesar flavor profile. But, vegetarians or those who are anti-anchovy can use commercial umami paste now available in tubes at many specialty markets. 

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or grated with a microplane
  • 1/4 cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 anchovy fillets plus extra for garnish or 1-2 teaspoons anchovy
     vegetarian option: 1-2 teaspoons umami paste
  • 1/8th teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided (1/2 cup tossed into salad plus 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 3 heads Romaine hearts, sliced lengthwise in half 

Salad Preparation:

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. In a blender, combine the garlic, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Drizzle in 3/4 cup olive oil to emulsify. Add half of the Parmesan and pulse.
  3. Gently toss the hearts of romaine in remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 minutes, until grill marks appear and the Romaine is slightly wilted.
  4. Remove the lettuce from the grill and serve the Romaine in one of two ways.
    Chopped: Place the Romaine hearts on a serving platter, toss with dressing and garnish with parmesan chickpeas, chopped parsley, additional Parmesan and anchovy filets (optional).
    Halves: Place the Romaine hearts on serving platter and drizzle with the dressing, garnish with the parmesan chickpeas, chopped parsley, additional Parmesan, and anchovy filets (optional).

Chopped Grilled Romaine Ceasar