Grilled Caesar Salad with Lemon Shrimp Skewers
Caesar salad just went from boring to brilliant with this inventive update!
If you think this is another pedestrian Caesar salad, think again. This recipe is a game changer thanks to the grilled lettuces and sourdough, offering a charred and smoky note to the vibrant and fresh flavors of the shrimp-and-paper-thin-lemon-slice skewers and, of course, the garlicky and peppery dressing. Once everything is prepped, the meal comes together almost instantly with a total active cooking time of not even 15 minutes. Everything is made on the grill except for the dressing, which means no mess in the kitchen for easy cleanup. If you’ve never grilled lettuce before, please give this one a try. It will knock you out!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; paring knife; mixing bowls; measuring spoons; dry measuring cup; microplane; reamer or fork; whisk; skewers; pastry brush; tongs; grill or grill pan
16-24 large shrimp, deveined and tail-on
4 slices sourdough bread
2 hearts of Romaine, halved
2 radicchio, halved
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1-2 lemons, thinly sliced, seeds removed
½ cup mayonnaise
zest and juice of one lemon
6 anchovy filets, finely chopped
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. First, in a large mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and set aside while you preheat the grill and make the dressing.
2. Preheat the grill to medium-high. (If using an indoor grill pan, wait until you complete Set 4 to heat the pan).
3. To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice of one lemon, anchovies, remaining clove of minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with kosher salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
4. Next, assemble the lemon-shrimp skewers. Skewer the top of one shrimp with the tail left unskewered. Fold a lemon slice in half and place it on the skewer beneath the skewered part of the shrimp. Hold the folded lemon slice in place by placing the shrimp flesh just above the tail on the skewer so that the shrimp forms a "C" shape with the lemon fold in its center (refer to photos for end result). Repeat with remaining shrimp and lemon slices on this and additional skewers.
"These thin lemon slices, skin and all, once grilled become tender and succulent. They are meant to be eaten with every bite of shrimp, a wonderful citrus counterpoint to the smokiness and bitterness of the grilled lettuces."
5. Brush the lettuce and radicchio halves on the cut side only with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
6. Brush each slice of bread on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
ILOC tip: before you head to the grill - or grill pan - gather the oil-brushed lettuces, shrimp skewers, oiled bread, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, along with tongs and a platter. You will need all of that in very short order once you begin cooking.
"If you want to pack an extra punch of pucker to the finished dish, grill some lemon halves to be used at service. Functional garnishes like this are all about technique, not torture!"
7. First grill the lettuces. Place the lettuce halves flat side-down on the hot grill. Cook for 20-30 seconds, until the lettuce is charred with grill marks. Using tongs, carefully remove from the grill - or place on the cold part of the grill - and set aside.
8. Next, grill the bread. Grill the first side for anywhere from 2-4 minutes, until golden brown with grill marks, being careful not to burn the bread. Turn over to grill the other side and sprinkle the top of each slice with ½ tablespoon Parmesan. Once the Parmesan has melted and other side of the bread has toasted, remove the bread either to a platter or
the cold side of the grill.
9. Finally, grill the shrimp skewers for 2-3 minutes per side, until the shrimps turn pink. Remove from the grill and set aside.
10. Assemble the salad either on one large platter, or divide evenly among four individual plates. Season again with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle generously with the Caesar dressing. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.