I whipped up this recipe during my time back in Maryland to serve alongside pizzas during one of my father’s infamous pizza nights with some family friends. This salad is served on a giant platter, and is definitely here for a party. Quickly charred romaine lettuce paired with a fresh mustard-y Caesar dressing and topped with crumbled garlic croutons, this salad has fresh summer vibes all over.
I based my dressing off of my classic Mustard Vinaigrette, which is a great base to get to a creamy dressing that stays together for a while thanks to the binding powers of the lecithin found in mustard. To give it a more classic Caesar flavor, I added a diced shallot, swapped the vinegar for freshly squeezed lemon juice, added a small pinch of anchovy paste (totally optional if that’s not your style!), and tossed in a big handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese to finish. This dressing is creamy, cheesy, and full of bright freshness from the lemon juice and mustard. It’s a great one to keep on hand for meal prep or homemade dressing inspiration, and it should be able to keep in the fridge for up to a week in between uses.
This recipe calls for grilling the lettuce first before dressing, which adds that extra charred flavor layer and warms the romaine heads up just enough so that they really absorb the flavors of the dressing. If you don’t have a grill or don’t feel like charring the lettuce first, this recipe will still be good! Feel free to swap or use any fresh greens here if you are skipping the grill. However, if you’re ready to fire up the grill for this recipe, I would still recommend romaine, or anything similar (like a Little Gem) that has a nice core to help keep it all together during the grilling process. I would not recommend tossing any loose lettuce leaves or spring mix on the grill – it will likely just wilt or burn, leaving you with sad, hot lettuce. Choose your path wisely!
This recipe makes a big batch, so feel free to scale it back based on your needs. This recipe is scaled for a party, so consider it a fun side salad option for your next summer gathering! Recipe down below, photos up top and below!
Caesar Salad Platter with Charred Romaine
- For the Dressing:
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp anchovy paste (optional)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- For the Topping:
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup croutons, lightly crushed
- 4 heads of Romain lettuce heads
- 1 tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
- For the dressing, remove the skin of the shallot and chop into fine dice. Add the chopped shallot into a small bowl or container, and add the anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Using a whisk, mix to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil into the mixture while whisking continuously to create an emulsion with the lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil. Once fully incorporated, add the parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper, and mix until fully combined. Set dressing aside.
- For the lettuce, chop (lengthwise) in half through the core, and in half again (lengthwise) through the core again to create 4 long quarters. Repeat for the remaining lettuce heads. Do not remove the cores after quartering the lettuce, as these are important to keep the lettuce heads together while grilling.
- Drizzle the lettuce quarters with light olive oil, then grill over high heat, rotating every 30-60 seconds to a new side to produce an even char. Lettuce should stay on the grill for about 2 minutes in total, rotating occasionally, to gain a quick char on all sides, but remain fresh and crunchy on the inside. Once grilling is complete, transfer to a large plate or platter.
- While still hot, drizzle the entire platter of grilled lettuce with all of the dressing. Sprinkle with the additional ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and crumbled croutons.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, immediately after preparing.