Try this classic salad recipe with a summertime twist (from Summer Sear, July 2021). Photograph by Douglas Merriam.

Grilled Southwest Caesar Salad with Cumin Croutons - Chef Johnny Vee

Getting some grill marks on your lettuce before dressing it adds a nice smoky element to this classic salad, which I give a New Mexico twist with lime and cumin.

SALAD

1 large head romaine lettuce, outer leaves discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil 
¾ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
12 anchovies 
1½ cups cumin croutons (recipe follows)
Kosher salt 
Fresh ground pepper
Dressing (recipe below)

DRESSING

3 large garlic cloves 
6 anchovies, chopped 
1 egg yolk 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce  
6 tablespoons olive oil  
3 tablespoons lime juice 
½ teaspoon kosher salt 
Fresh ground pepper 

CUMIN CROUTONS

1½ cups baguette cut into ¼-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter 
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and then ground
¼ teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder 
¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon sugar 

Serves 6


SALAD INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (350°). Scrape the grate, wipe it clean, and then brush it lightly with vegetable oil.   

  2. Cut the lettuce head in half lengthwise, then each half lengthwise into thirds, keeping the leaves connected to the stem. Rinse in cold water and blot dry. 

  3. Brush olive oil on the cut side of the romaine hearts and season with salt and pepper. Place the romaine cut side down on the grill and cook until nicely marked, 6–8 minutes. Allow to cool on serving plates. 

  4. Drizzle dressing over lettuce. (You may not use all of it; refrigerate the rest and use within the week.) Garnish with shaved cheese, anchovies, cumin croutons, salt, and pepper. 

DRESSING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place garlic, anchovies, egg yolk, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and blend for 30 seconds. 

  2. Slowly add olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper and continue blending until sauce is creamy.  

CUMIN CROUTON INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in seasonings. 

  2. Drizzle butter over bread cubes and toss to combine. 

  3. Scatter cubes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350° oven for 10–12 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool and store in tightly covered container.