Seared Romaine Spears with Caesar Dressing

Photo: © Matthew Hranek

In this fun incarnation of Caesar salad, grilling romaine with a light brushing of oil boosts its flavor while adding few calories. For the dressing, Kerry Simon ingeniously swaps in low-fat mayonnaise for egg yolks.

Yield: 10
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
  • 10 slices crusty peasant bread
  • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Preparation

  1. Light a grill. In a blender or mini food processor, blend the mayonnaise with the vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. With the machine on, gradually add 1/2 cup of the vegetable oil until the Caesar dressing is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Lightly brush the hearts of romaine with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred but still crisp, about 3 minutes.
  3. Lightly brush the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Grill, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Spread half of the Caesar dressing on a large platter. Arrange the grilled hearts of romaine on top and brush with the remaining dressing. Garnish with the cheese shavings and serve the grilled bread alongside.
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