My husband used to work as a waiter in Melbourne many years ago. It’s where he developed his passion for good food. Since I first met him, he has reminisced and raved about a chargrilled Caesar Salad that one of the restaurants used to serve. With my lettuce patch in full yield, this is the perfect time of year for me to have a go at recreating this delicious salad.
The end result was well received and my 6-year-old son rated it as his new ‘favourite’ – so I guess I’ll be making this again over winter.
Whilst the processes in this recipe are a little more fiddly than my standard fare, it is anything but tricky to make. As usual, I’ve accommodated various dietary requirements. As a vegetarian myself for many years, I also have an amazing ‘Sea Caesar Salad’ up my sleeve for the vegetarians and vegans out there – coming soon!
Until then… A chargrilled Caesar Salad with Maple Bacon
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit many specific dietary requirements.
Chargrilled Caesar Salad with maple bacon
- 8 rasher/s bacon
- 85 g maple syrup (¼ cup)
- 2 piece/s sourdough
- 55 g butter or olive oil (¼ cup approx.)
- 1 clove/s garlic -peeled and left whole
- 2 baby cos lettuce
- 40 g parmesan cheese (¼ cup) shaved
- ¼ bunch fresh parsley leaves -to serve
- 2 free-range or organic egg/s -hard boiled to serve (optional)
- 115 g whole egg mayonnaise (½ cup)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove/s garlic -crushed
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 anchovy fillets -finely diced (see notes below if you don't like them)
- Ground black pepper -to taste
- Preheat your oven to 220ºC/430°F.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the maple syrup in a bowl and coat each rasher of bacon in the syrup and lay them in the tray so that the don't overlap. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the bacon to make sure it crisps but does not burn. Once cooked carefully remove the bacon onto a plate and pop in the fridge to harden.
- Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill pan or BBQ plate. Butter the sourdough on both sides. Wash and shake dry the cos lettuce removing any brown or damaged outer leaves. Cut the cos lengthways in half and brush the cut side with a little olive oil.
- Prepare your dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together well. I'm not overly fond of anchovies, but in this dressing, they just add a wonderful hit of saltiness and no fishiness at all. If you just can't bring yourself to use them, add some sea salt instead.
- Once you grill is heated begin by charing the sourdough until toasted and then rub with the peeled clove of garlic. Cut into a wedge to serve. Next, char the cos for a minute, not to cook, rather impart a charred flavour.
- Assemble by placing the cos on a plate charred side up. Drizzle over the dressing and top with the maple bacon, sourdough garlic crouton, shaved parmesan, parsley and grate the boiled egg over the top (optional). Serve with a sharp (even a steak) knife so it can be chopped up to combine all of these divine flavours.
- I love this salad with cherry tomatoes and slices of avocado. You can turn this into a meal by adding grilled chicken or salmon.
Gluten-freeOmit the Worcestershire sauce in the dressing and serve with gluten-free bread.
Dairy-freeOmit the parmesan, replace it with ¼ cup ground macadamia nuts mixed with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a good pinch of sea salt. Use olive oil on the bread.
Low-fructoseCandy the bacon with rice malt syrup instead of maple syrup.
Egg-freeCheck out this egg free mayo here and omit the grated egg.
Garlic-freeOmit the garlic, there are enough lovely flavours for it not to be missed.
Seafood-freeReplace the anchovies with a good pinch of sea salt. Once you've eaten this, you will struggle to eat your standard Caesar Salad ever again. I think this is a stunning starter when entertaining or a great weekend lunch. For lots more sides and salad inspo, take a look at my hugely popular ebook ˜Well Nourished Sides and Salads’- where vegetables become the hero of the dish! It’s great value at just $9.95, click HERE to take a look.
Who loves a Caesar Salad? Love to hear your thoughts on this one, post comment below...