This is what I call the perfect solution for a hot summer evening. I am all sweaty and not in the mood to cook, but since I am forever in the mood to eat, let’s just throw everything on the grill. Skewer some big shrimp and slice up some hearts of romaine lettuce, grab some blackberries and your favorite Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons and you are good to go. Grilling the romaine to a slightly smoky char gives this salad a whole new identity. Use your favorite best-quality Caesar dressing to make this a nearly effortless endeavor, which is critical during this time of year. Jump right on over to the blog and I’ll show you how you can get this on the table in no time flat.
One of the coolest things is that you can buy romaine hearts all ready bagged up in the supermarket. All you need to do is rinse them off, peel off any stray outer leaves, and slice them right down the middle. Add just a little oil and some salt and throw them right on the grill. They only need to be there for a minute or two, until they start to char around the edges, kind of like this:
Shrimp goes on next, and they are fast little guys, so keep your eyes on them. Once they turn a light orange and look translucent, they are ready. If in doubt, taste one or two which is what I do – no big shock there.
You can make your croutons in advance and just crisp them on the grill if you want before serving, or if you are not in a crouton frame of mind, just slice up your bread, butter on both sides and grill it right along side of the other stuff going on. When all the grilling is done, just get out a platter and start layering everything on – that way everybody can take care of themselves and you can enjoy an adult beverage since you are so hot from standing over that grill.
Time to get these guys on the plate! Juicy shrimp, crunchy lettuce, crisp croutons that don’t taste like they came out of a box, and fresh, sweet berries, all tied together with salty Parmesan cheese and a rich and creamy dressing. I believe I’ll have seconds..
And there you have it – supper on the grill. Make it for a crowd, make it for yourself. This one is easy to modify.
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- 3 hearts of romaine, rinsed and patted dry
- About 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed
- 1-2 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried
- Fresh leaves of basil, oregano, thyme, or marjoram (optional)
- ½ loaf of good Ciabatta or other artisan bread, buttered on each side and cut into 1 inch cubes
- About ¼ pound Parmesan or other hard cheese of your choice, grated or cut into strips with a vegetable peeler
- 1 jar best-quality Caesar salad dressing (recommend Litehouse brand)
- BEFORE YOU GET STARTED NOTE: You’ll need wooden grilling skewers, so get those soaking in cold water about half an hour before you start to grill…but really – if you don’t have those around, just grill the shrimp separately on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Slice about half the Ciabatta loaf into 1 inch slices and butter generously (if you have any garlic butter laying around, that’s even better).
- Cut the bread into cubes and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
- HERE’S ANOTHER IDEA: Since you’ll have the grill on anyway, skip cubing the bread and making croutons and just throw the slices of bread onto the grill until grill marks appear – delicious!! If you go that route, butter both sides of the bread.
- Rinse romaine thoroughly and pat as dry as possible with a clean cotton kitchen towel.
- Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise and brush very lightly with olive oil.
- Set aside until ready to grill.
- When your skewers are ready, skewer 4 big shrimp on each skewer and lightly brush on oil and add a little salt. If you are going the foil route, oil and salt your shrimp.
- Turn on your grill to medium high.
- Grill the shrimp only until pink and translucent, which should take right about 4 minutes. If your shrimp start to look like they are bright pink and starting to seize up, you’ve gone too far and your shrimp will be tough but please don’t let that stop you from eating them!!
- When shrimp are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
- Grill, romaine hearts cut side down only, until grill marks just appear – about 2 minutes.
- Remove from grill and quickly start putting your salad together: I like to serve it on a platter and let everybody grab what they want, just because it’s easier.
- Set the grilled romaine on the platter or plate, cut side up. Sprinkle with herbs if you are using them, set the skewered or grilled shrimp on the side and drizzle with your Caesar dressing. Sprinkle the whole works with fresh berries and Parmesan cheese, and croutons.