Grilled Romaine Salad with Guacamaioli

June  7, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Makes 4 side salads or 2 main course salads
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 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. Guacamaioli (makes about 3/4 cup)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer to a storage container. There will be enough for several salads, or use in place of mayo on a sandwich or elsewhere.
  1. Grilled Romaine Salad
  2. Turn grill on to high. (If using a charcoal grill set it up for direct heat on one side, and indirect on the other.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • fiveandspice
  • lorigoldsby
  • hardlikearmour
  • EmilyC
  • boulangere
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

15 Reviews

fiveandspice June 15, 2012
Guacamaioli! I love it! This looks amazing! I love grilled salad. Awesome in every way!
hardlikearmour June 15, 2012
Thank you! The avocado makes the aioli especially luscious. I was pleasantly surprised at how much character the romaine gets from being grilled.
lorigoldsby June 10, 2012
Brillant! I was going to do grilled romaine with a goat cheese/yogurt tzatziki tonight...but changed my mind!
hardlikearmour June 10, 2012
Ooooh! Goat cheese & yogurt tzatziki sounds delish! Let me know if you try my take on it. I'd love to get your input.
hardlikearmour June 9, 2012
Glad to hear it, lapadia! I bet it's great with fish tacos.
EmilyC June 9, 2012
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?
hardlikearmour June 9, 2012
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: 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!
lapadia June 9, 2012
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!
hardlikearmour June 9, 2012
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.
lapadia June 10, 2012
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!
boulangere June 8, 2012
I love grilled romaine, and the dressing sounds good enough to eat all by itself.
hardlikearmour June 8, 2012
Grilling really does make romaine more delicious! I confess to eating a few bites of the dressing sans salad.
lapadia June 8, 2012
Cheers to your grilled BLTesque recipe and the guacamaioli sounds awesome!
hardlikearmour June 8, 2012
Thank you! It is pretty yummy, and works really well with the rest of the flavors of the salad.
lapadia June 9, 2012
I made the guacamaioli and served with halibut tacos...fabulous!!