Charred Caesar Salad

I am still working to perfect this recipe, but I wanted to get it posted now so that I wouldn’t forget to keep working on it.

I had my first charred caesar salad ever at the Quarterdeck Seafoods in Maynard, MA. It was sooo good. The lettuce was warm, slightly charred but still crisp! Sadly, the Quarterdeck closed its doors many years ago and I’ve been trying to recreate it sporadically ever since. Seems like it should be easy, but so far I have yet to recreate the same tasting experience. It could be that my dressing isn’t the right Caesar for this preparation, not sure yet.

This past weekend I was down in Newport, RI and had lunch at The Safari Room (great place btw in terms of both food & views of Newport). A new edition to their menu this year is….a charred Caesar Salad. It was amazing. I have their paper menu sitting in front of me now, and they describe their salad as: grilled romaine hearts, shaved Grana Padano, herbed croutons, lemony Caesar dressing.

Grana Padano is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, which definitely has a different, superior taste to it than our americanized Parmesan. I’m thinking that using Grana Padano instead of parmesan and adding more lemon to my dressing will the next thing I try.

Update as of 7/14/20 – I made this tonight and my assumptions were on target. I have updated the recipe based on tonights experience. It could still be a smidgeon better but I’m going to let this one sit for a while until I’m hit with some inspiration.

  • Romain hearts
  • Olive oil
  • Croutons
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly Grana Padano (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • Caesar Salad dressing – see below

Still experimenting here on the actually grilling technique. What I do know is that you need to start by spraying the romaine hearts with olive oil before putting them on the grill and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I think that you really do need an olive oil mister for this, otherwise you’ll end up using too much olive oil and the lettuce will be soggy and heavy.

The goal is to have the lettuce be warm throughout, still crisp and lightly charred on all sides. Last night I tried grilling the hearts on high and it started to char too quickly. Next time I am going to try preheating grill on high, but turning heat down to medium before putting hearts on.

Once lettuce looks charred enough on all sides, remove from grill and serve immediately. Squeeze the juice of a lemon wedge on each heart before adding dressing & croutons.

Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients

This is very similar to the Caesar Salad dressing on my other page, but has been altered based on the description of the Safari Room’s salad.

  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • T mayo
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T fresh grated Grana Padano (plus extra for adding shavings)

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