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Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad

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We eat a lot of Caesar salads at our house so when we heard about a Grilled Caesar Salad we thought we’d try it. Now if you’re going to grill a salad, you first need to deconstruct it. So here is our house recipe for a Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad.

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The Lettuce

Grilled Romaine for Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad
Grilled Romaine -photo credit Jim Little

Romaine lettuce is a sturdy green that can stand up to a brief minute or two on the grill. I found that the slightly more compact Romaine hearts, sold in bags of three, worked best.

The Dressing

There’s nothing like homemade dressing and I live by that. The secret to a thick dressing is the same secret for making homemade mayonnaise, start slow. Many recipes suggest you slowly drizzle in the oil. Whether you are using a hand blender or a food processor, adding the oil slowly at the very beginning is the most important step.

The dressing will last us for two or three salads so I have a few salad dressing bottles for this purpose. Sometimes I even label the bottle.

Parmesan Cheese Wafers

Parmesan Cheese Wafers for Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad
Parmesan Cheese Wafers -photo credit Jim Little

These cheese wafers may have been what intrigued me to try a Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad the first time. They are pure Parmesan cheese, melted to perfection so what could be bad about that?

To make the wafers I got set up at the stove and grated a huge pile of Parmesan cheese with my favourite Microplane grater. I compared 1½ tablespoons of cheese to 2 tablespoons, several flippers and two frying pans. I had a non-stick frying pan and a ceramic one. It was tricky but I did it so here are my tips if you are up for the challenge.

  • -Measure the cheese so you can drop it in the center of the pan all at once
  • -Use the smoothest, most flexible small flipper you have
  • -Flip it with confidence so it doesn’t fold over itself in the pan
  • -For the look of a French tuile (a baked cookie or wafer named after the look of a roof tile), lay the hot wafer over a rolling pin and allow it to cool completely. I have a nice marble rolling pin with a base which makes this job easy.

Full disclosure, these are not easy to make. If you find yourself in the kitchen, cursing and swearing at these little cheese wafers think of me. Because when I was making mine, I was thinking of you.

Garlic Croutons or No Croutons

To make any salad gluten free it’s always easy to simply skip the croutons, especially if you are serving a crunchy Parmesan cheese wafer. But for this Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad I wanted to make all the elements. I used a loaf of gluten free bread and trimmed the ends off after it was toasted and brushed with oil. I chose to cut them into small triangles to be slightly different from the typical square croutons. You can make yours however you like. I reserved all the leftover bread edges to make breadcrumbs for some savoury dish like meatballs, meat loaf or breaded pork chops.

So there you have it, a gluten free Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad to try this barbecue season. I’d love to hear if you tried this recipe and what changes you made.

More Summer Salad Recipes

A Round Up of Summer Salads

A Round Up of Summer Salads
A Round Up of Summer Salads -photo credit Jim Little


Prepare dressing, cheese wafers & croutons in advance.
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp anchovy paste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
⅛ tsp dry mustard
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
About 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3-6 slices gluten free bread
olive oil for brushing
1-2 garlic cloves, halved
3 heads Romaine lettuce hearts
olive oil for grilling


Add egg yolks, garlic, anchovy paste, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and dry mustard to a tall blender cup. Using a hand blender mix for 30-60 seconds until well combined.
With the blender running slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all incorporated.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Can be made in advance.
Heat non-stick pan over medium high heat. Do not oil.
Dump 2 Tbsp cheese into the center of the pan and let it melt completely, 30-60 seconds. Using a flexible flipper gently loosen the wafer from the pan and flip it over. Cook 30-60 seconds. Gently remove and place over a rolling pin to achieve the classic shape of a French tuile. Cool completely. Can be made in advance.
Toast bread on both sides in toaster.
Brush both sides of warm toast with olive oil and rub cut garlic all over.
Trim crusts and cut to desired shape.
If needed, bake croutons in 350°F oven until nice and crunchy.
Trim ends of Romaine leaving root attached. Cut heads in half lengthwise.
Preheat barbecue. Brush cut side of lettuce with oil and immediately put cut side down on the grill. Cook 1-2 minutes until slightly blackened. Transfer to a platter, cut side up.
Drizzle with salad dressing. Garnish with Parmesan cheese wafers and croutons. Add fresh cracked pepper if desired.


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