This salad makes our “top ten” list of salads. It’s fun to make with fajitas or Mexican fare (although it does require some room on the dinner or salad plate). The flavors are amazing as the dressing steams and permeates through the romaine leaves during the grilling process. Both of our kids love this salad. In fact, it’s the only salad our son will eat (probably because it’s topped with salsa).
We first had this salad at Savannah’s Chop House in Laguna Niguel. I hunted down the recipe. Honestly, I don’t usually make it from scratch, as I’ve found some great time-saving substitutions. When in a hurry, I use:
- Our favorite chunky fresh salsa from the grocery store in place of the Pico de Gallo;
- Toasted Pine Nuts (which I always have in my freezer) instead of Pumpkin Seeds;
- and Girard’s Light Caesar Dressing in place of the anchovy dressing.
Savannah’s Grilled Romaine Salad
4 Romaine Lettuce Hearts
2 Large Tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup Red Onion, minced
1/2 bunch of Cilantro, stemmed and minced
1 Serrano Pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbs. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Salt
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2/3 cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 can Anchovies, 2 oz. drained
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tsp. Dry Mustard
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Ground Pepper
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Hot Pepper Sauce
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1. Make the Pico de Gallo by combining tomatoes, onion, cilantro, pepper, lime juice and salt in a bowl. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
2. Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast seeds at 350 degrees until golden brown (6 – 7 minutes). Toss the warm seeds with cumin and chili powder until well coated.
3. Combine anchovies, Dijon, dry mustard, garlic, Worcestershire, vinegar, pepper, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce in a blender. Begin to blend and gradually add oil in a thin stream until mixture becomes a mayonnaise-like consistency.
4. Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise. Brush cut-side of lettuce halves with some Caesar dressing. Place face down on heated grill and grill about 90 seconds. Lettuce will be slightly wilted and have light grill marks.
5. Arrange romaine hearts face up on 8 plates. Drizzle with more Caesar dressing. Add several dollops of Pico de Gallo. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds (or toasted Pine Nuts).