Grilled Romaine Salad with Guacamaioli

By • June 7, 2012 • 17 Comments

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Author Notes: I saw a recipe for grilled romaine with green harissa (yes, green harissa!) in the MIX magazine put out by the Oregonian. I was inspired to create this salad based on that recipe and my favorite summer sandwich (BaconLettuceAvocadoTomato.) The char on the romaine makes up for the lack of toast. I used Shirley Corriher's technique for making mayo to make the avocado aioli (aka guacamaioli.)hardlikearmour

Makes 4 side salads or 2 main course salads

Guacamaioli (makes about 3/4 cup)

  • 1 medium to large clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond kosher salt (or 3/4 t Mortons)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus additional to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed (or canola) oil
  • 1 small Hass avocado
  1. Mince garlic, then sprinkle with salt. Using the flat side of a chef's knife scrape the garlic and salt back and forth on the cutting board to form a paste. Transfer the paste to a blender. Set a strainer atop the blender.
  2. Have a bowl of ice water ready that a small skillet will fit in. In a small skillet thoroughly combine egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and sugar. Heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and the pesky bits of white that always seem to cling to the yolk become somewhat opaque. Place the bottom of the skillet in the ice water to stop the cooking then strain the mixture into the blender. Pulse a couple of times to mix, then let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Start blender, then gradually add the oil in a very fine drizzle to the mixture. It should take at least a minute or so. Scrape down the sides of the blender. Remove the flesh from the avocado and add it to the blender. Pulse several times then blend until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. The mixture should be like mayo in texture.
  4. Transfer to a storage container. There will be enough for several salads, or use in place of mayo on a sandwich or elsewhere.

Grilled Romaine Salad

  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 hearts of romaine
  • 8 to 10 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • grapeseed oil
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup guacamaioli
  • water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Turn grill on to high. (If using a charcoal grill set it up for direct heat on one side, and indirect on the other.)
  2. Place bacon in a cold skillet and heat over medium until crisp, flipping bacon occasionally. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate and set aside. (If you're hungry you may eat 1/2 slice of the bacon as a cook's reward.)
  3. While bacon is cooking trim discolored sliver off the base of the romaine hearts. Cut the core in half lengthwise (it extends about 1/4 of the length of the head) then gently pry the romaine in half. Remove any ragged and overly floppy leaves. Rinse the romaine well, give it a shake, and stand it upright (leaning against a bowl or in your dish rack) on paper towels or in the sink to drain for several minutes.
  4. Cut the tomatoes in half (or quarters if they are large.) Set aside. Place guacamaioli in a small bowl. Adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time, whisk until it becomes a thick, pourable consistency.
  5. Brush the romaine lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn half of the grill off. Place cut side down on the grill with the core at the hottest area. Once starting to char (about 60-90 seconds), flip to the uncut side keeping the core hottest. Once starting to char (about 60-90 seconds), flip it again this time moving it to the unheated area of the grill. Put the cover on the grill, and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the romaine is softened/wilted, but the ribs still retain some crunch.
  6. Arrange the romaine on a platter or individual plates as desired. Grind some pepper over the romaine. Drizzle with the guacamaioli. Scatter the tomatoes and crumble the bacon over top. Serve immediately.
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Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Guacamaioli! I love it! This looks amazing! I love grilled salad. Awesome in every way!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you! The avocado makes the aioli especially luscious. I was pleasantly surprised at how much character the romaine gets from being grilled.

Lorigoldsby

over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

Brillant! I was going to do grilled romaine with a goat cheese/yogurt tzatziki tonight...but changed my mind!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Ooooh! Goat cheese & yogurt tzatziki sounds delish! Let me know if you try my take on it. I'd love to get your input.

3-bizcard

over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I hate it when I miss things and I totally missed this one. I love grilled romaine and the guacmaioli sounds intriguing. The technique is great, I assume that if you are not concerned about food safety you could just whip up the whole thing in the blender? Sounds great and perfect for summer.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I assume so, though haven't tried it to confirm. I ate an entire heart of romaine because it was so darn tasty.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Glad to hear it, lapadia! I bet it's great with fish tacos.

Img_7818

over 2 years ago EmilyC

This looks delicious! I'm intrigued by this technique of making aioli. Is the purpose of step 2 to heat the raw yolk enough to reduce risk, or is it for another reason?

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

That's a good question, and I'm not certain of the answer, but suspect it's a food safety thing. I borrowed it from Shirley Corriher: http://www.culinate.com... The sugar helps to prevent the yolks from coagulating (per Rose Levy Beranbaum), and I think the mixture must get above 160º F since the whites start to cook, so it's gotta kill most bacteria. It seems to work really nicely as far as final product so I've become a fan!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 2 years ago lapadia

Hmmm, well when I made this I followed the recipe ingredients = 1 large egg yolk. Later in step 2 you wrote: *sirring continuously until the mixture thickens and the pesky bits of white become somewhat opaque* but at that point I had already started with the yolk, only. It worked out fine; forgot I was going to ask about this. Regardless…the guacamaoli is delicious and I can’t wait to try it as you have posted…with the grilled romaine & BLT!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

You know how when you separate an egg there's always a few little globules of white that seem to cling to the yolk? Those are the pesky bits. In this case they make a nice indictor because they start to go opaque when the yolk is ready.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 2 years ago lapadia

Oh yes...I know those pesky little bits ;) and figured this is what you would probably say! But the "OCD" part of my brain sent me on a mission to check. HA!

Dscn2212

over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love grilled romaine, and the dressing sounds good enough to eat all by itself.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Grilling really does make romaine more delicious! I confess to eating a few bites of the dressing sans salad.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 2 years ago lapadia

Cheers to your grilled BLTesque recipe and the guacamaioli sounds awesome!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you! It is pretty yummy, and works really well with the rest of the flavors of the salad.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 2 years ago lapadia

I made the guacamaioli and served with halibut tacos...fabulous!!