I took a road trip with Sandra to San Francisco years ago, and we had dinner at a really nice restaurant downtown. I've never forgotten that the salad they served was grilled. I believe it was grilled radicchio, but I was completely blown away.
A warm salad or grilled lettuce just doesn't sound like they go together, but the sturdy hearts of romaine become smoky on the grill and this classic salad takes an interesting spin. Honestly, why not just try it....once.
Grilled Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
1 head of garlic, top third sliced off and discarded
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
3 ounces Manchego Cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)
Preheat oven to 375F. Place garlic, cut side up on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the garlic and bake until the cloves are very soft, about 1 hour. Let cool.
Squeeze the garlic cloves into a blender. Add buttermilk and lemon juice and blend until a puree. With the machine on, slowly pour 1 cup of olive oil until blended. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Preheat your grill. Drizzle the cut sides on the romaine with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the romaine over a hot fire, cut side down, until charred in spots, about 1 minute. Turn the romaine over and grill for another minute.
Transfer the heads to a platter, cut side up. Drizzle the dressing over the romaine, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.