Grilled Romaine Caesar


  • 2 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 slices dark bread, such as rye or pumpernickel
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 anchovy filet, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil, light-tasting extra-virgin olive oil, or other neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Make the Pickled Onions: Add the onion, vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes, allspice, bay leaf, and cloves to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.  Turn off the heat and let the onion cool in the saucepan, about 60 minutes.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Step 2: Make the Breadcrumbs: Turn the oven to broil with a rack in the top position.  Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.  Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil until toasted, about 1 minute per side.  Tear the bread into large pieces and transfer to a food processor.  Pulse until larger crumbs form, about 10 times.  Return the breadcrumbs to the baking sheet and broil until dry and toasted, 1-2 minutes longer.

Step 3: Make the Caesar Dressing: To a narrow jar, add the egg yolk, anchovy, garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt.  Use an immersion blender to blend the dressing directly in the jar, about 30 seconds.  Slowly pour in the oil and continue blending until combined.  Add the remaining lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper and blend until emulsified.

Step 4: Preheat the grill on medium-low.  Brush the cut sides of romaine hearts with olive oil and place them face down on the hot grill.  Cook without disturbing until grill marks appear, 2-4 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the romaine and cook until grill marks appear, 2 minutes more.

Step 5: Transfer the grilled romaine to a serving platter.  Top with 1/2 cup pickled onions, dressing, and breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Enjoy this charred, flavorful salad from The Modern Proper!