Grilled Caesar Salad
When I was younger I hated salad. Now that I’m a grown up, I tolerate salad. I can attribute my slightly more favorable feelings towards salad to Caesar salad. Caesar is like a gate-way salad; it’s savory and kind of indulgent. It definitely doesn’t feel like punishment the way some other salads do. I was pretty upset when my mom revealed to me in middle school that Caesar salads are not that healthy but I am happy to report that this one is pretty clean. I swapped cashews for the traditional egg yolk (because raw egg yolk is gross and why did no one ever tell me Caesar dressing had raw egg in it?!) and was able to reduce the amount of oil used by a lot. Now, how much parmesan you decide to pile on top is totally up to you.
· ¼ cup raw cashews
· ¼ cup hot water
· ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
· ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
· 1 tablespoon butter
· ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
· 2 oz can anchovies
· 2 cloves garlic-roughly chopped
· 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
· 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
· 2 lemons
· 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
· 2 heads romaine lettuce
1. In a small bowl combine cashews and very hot water. Let soak until soft, about 10 minutes, then drain.
2. While the cashews soften, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the fresh and panko bread crumbs. Toss to coat the bread crumbs with butter and stir constantly until the bread crumbs are golden brown and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Using a wet paper towel clean the romaine lettuce, separating the leaves to check for dirt. Remove the base of each head of lettuce, while keeping the core intact. Slice each head in half-length wise. With the lettuce cut side up brush a bit of extra virgin olive oil on the leaves.
4. In a food processor or blender, combine the cashews, ¼ cup grated parmesan, garlic, Dijon mustard, anchovies, and the juice of one and a half lemons. Reserve the remaining half a lemon. Pulse the food processor a few times until the mixture is combined, then begin slowing adding ¼ cup of olive oil while processing the dressing until smooth and creamy. Add the freshly cracked black pepper and pulse to incorporate.
5. Pre-heat a grill to medium high heat. Once the grill is hot, place the lettuce and lemon cut side down on the grill and cook for 3 minutes, until lightly charred on one side.