Grilled Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Active Time: 10 minutes • Total Time: 14 minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

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Grilled lettuce? It may sound strange, but try it with romaine hearts the next time you have the grill heated up. The heart is the core of pale green inner leaves that’s left when you strip the large mature leaves off a head of romaine lettuce.

Before grilling whole hearts, brush them with tangy Caesar Vinaigrette to add flavor and protect the tender leaves from the heat. A brief stint over the flames gives the romaine a smoky flavor and gently wilts the outside, leaving the innermost leaves crisp.

Shavings of Parmesan cheese are the customary garnish for Caesar salad, but in this salad grated Parmesan bakes into crisp disks that can be served whole or crumbled over the salad. This, plus Parmesan Croutons, gives the salad a double hit of this delicious cheese.

From Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spoon the grated cheese on the parchment paper, making four 3-inch rounds about 1/4-inch thick, spaced 1 inch apart. Bake the cheese until it bubbles and turns golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the Parmesan crisps to paper towels to cool.

Set up a barbecue grill and preheat it to high.

Leaving the romaine hearts intact, liberally brush each with some of the Caesar Vinaigrette. Gently separate the leaves so that you can brush the inner leaves, too. Set the remaining Caesar Vinaigrette aside.

Place the whole romaine hearts on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are wilted and charred slightly, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the romaine hearts to a cutting board and cut off the stem ends so that the leaves separate. Arrange the romaine on a large platter. Sprinkle the croutons over the lettuce. Arrange the whole Parmesan crisps on the platter or break them into bite-size pieces and sprinkle them over the salad. Serve immediately with the remaining Caesar Vinaigrette on the side.

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