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Author Notes: I learned to make a recipe similar to this at school a few years ago and I've used it relentlessly since. It doesn't take much to put it together and it's an easy way to impress anyone tired of the same old Caesars. —Derek Laughren
- 3 romaine hearts
- 1 loaf of sourdough bread
- 1 quart cherry tomatoes
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
- 7 cloves garlic
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 2-3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, + 2T for tomatoes, + more for bread, to taste
- Fire up your grill or get your grill pan ready. If using the grill, scrape the grates clean when it's screaming hot and season them with oil.
- Wash the romaine hearts well and spin dry. Cut each romaine heart into quarters. Store them in the refrigerator under a wet towel until ready to use.
- Using a heavy knife, crush your peeled garlic into a cutting board until you reach a paste consistency. (This can be done in a small food processor if you're in a hurry.) Do the same with your anchovy fillets and combine in a mixing bowl. Add 2 T egg yolk, 6 T grated parm, 3/4 cup olive oil, and 2 T lemon juice. Whisk well to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Cut hearty slices of the sourdough bread, about 1" thick. Brush both sides well with olive oil and throw them on the grill. When you have dark grill marks and charring on one side, flip it and do the same to the other. Remove from heat and slice a garlic clove in half. Scrape the cut side of the garlic over the surface of each toast. Reserve.
- In a small mixing bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with 2 T extra virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If your grates are narrow enough or if your tomatoes are big enough, throw them right on the grill, turning periodically until blistered and bursting at the seams. If the tomatoes are at risk of falling through, place a sheet of foil on the grill and do the same.
- Brush each quarter of romaine heart lightly with olive oil. Place each, cut side down, on the grill until you're happy with the grill marks. Transfer each to the other cut side and mark it as well.
- To plate: Place a piece of grilled toast on each plate. Lean the two romaine heart quarters against the toast so that they cross over each other like an 'x'. Toss a few blistered tomatoes on each plate. Spoon dressing over the romaine hearts to taste. Using a vegetable peeler (I find the 'y'-peelers work best), shave curls of Parmigiano Reggiano to place over the center of your crossed romaine hearts.