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Grilled Romaine Salad

Romaine lettuce is both sturdy enough and flavorful enough to stand up to the heat and the char of a grill. Add some avocado and a Caesar-inspired vinaigrette, and you’ve got a grilled salad that belongs alongside a thick, juicy grilled steak. 

Ingredients:

For the Caesar vinaigrette: 

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste  
  • 1/2 tsp. whole-grain mustard 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp. roasted garlic paste 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil  
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. honey 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  •   
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed 
  • Olive oil for drizzling 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced 
  • 1/4 lb. Asiago cheese 

Directions:

To make the vinaigrette, in a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, oregano and roasted garlic and pulse to blend. With the machine running, slowly add the canola and olive oils and process until the dressing emulsifies. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the honey, and season with salt and pepper. You should have about 1 1/4 cups, which is more than you’ll need for this salad; store leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Prepare a medium fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Cut each romaine head in half lengthwise. Trim the base of the stem from each half but leave the remainder of the stem attached; it holds the leaves together. Drizzle the cut side of each half with a little olive oil.

Place the romaine halves, cut side down, on the grill directly over the fire and cook until the leaves develop a little char and have begun to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the lettuce over and cook for about 2 minutes more. You want the lettuce to be a little wilted but still hold its shape.

Transfer the romaine halves, cut side up, to individual plates, and garnish each plate with one-fourth of the tomatoes and avocado. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the salads. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over each salad and serve immediately, passing additional vinaigrette at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011).