Cast Iron

Grilled Romaine with Corn and Creamy Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette

June 16, 2015
5 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I don't grill. Ever. So this is a great way to crank some heat and fake it like you're a grilling goddess. The balsamic is key. It glazes and colors the romaine. But wear an apron because the balsamic spatters quite a bit.

There is no olive oil in this recipe so the egg yolk plays a lot of roles: it helps emulsify the dressing, it adds fat and flavor. I coddle the egg (cooked gently in boiling water for 2 minutes) to thicken it and warm it up. The yolk and most of the white won't be cooked. So make sure your egg is fresh and from a farm you trust. If you're in a rush, you can just use a raw egg.

Serve this as a side salad, or turn it into a meal by adding avocado dressed with lime, pickled chiles, roasted carrots, or flank steak. Or all of the above! —Phyllis Grant

What You'll Need
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 to 6 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I like Grey Poupon)
  • Splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 hearts of romaine
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided (half for the romaine and half for the corn)
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • Handful parsley leaves, coarsely chopped, for garnish
  1. To coddle the egg: Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Lower flame to medium. Carefully lower the egg into the water. Gently boil for 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water for a minute. Set aside.
  2. Bash garlic and anchovies into a paste using a mortar and pestle (or chop finely with a chef's knife). Crack open the egg and use a small spoon to scoop out the interior and add it to the anchovy garlic paste. Most of the egg will still be raw. Mix well. It's okay to have a few small chunks of white that don't mix in. Whisk in lemon juice/zest, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and crème fraîche. Taste. Adjust. You want it to be quite acidic. The romaine needs a lot of flavor. Set aside.
  3. Halve the romaines hearts lengthwise. Evenly sprinkle the cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside. Put balsamic and 1 tablespoon butter in a large (9-inch or so) pan (I use cast iron). Crank the heat to high. Stir until the butter and balsamic melt together and thicken a bit (about a minute). Press romaine halves cut-side down in the pan. Use your hands, a spatula, or the bottom of another pan to press them down. Peek after a minute. You want a nice dark color but you don't want them to burn. Flip them over and cook for one more minute. Remove and place on a serving platter.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once it starts to brown, use a very sharp or serrated knife to cut the corn off of the cob and down into the hot pan. Add the remaining salt. Turn off the heat. Taste. Adjust the seasoning.
  5. Spoon cooked corn over the grilled romaine. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with dressing on the side. Or splash it all over.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kingfishercooks
  • ReeceAmy
  • Caitlin Marie
    Caitlin Marie
  • ivy greene
    ivy greene
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

22 Reviews

Kingfishercooks August 13, 2015
Phyllis, I don't want to be morbid but you posted this on the day my dad died. I have finally cooked it, and yes, on the grill, and it was really, really good. Thanks for giving me a gift that reminds me of the great meals I had with my dad and taking my mind off how much I miss him. Anne
Phyllis G. August 16, 2015
I'm so so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing me. I'm glad the meal helped. I have a few things I cook that always remind of my grandmother. It helps. Sending love and breath and grilled salads.
ReeceAmy August 10, 2015
Phyllis - this dressing is beyond amazing!!! In addition to this lovely recipe, have used it on everything - salads, tomato sandwiches. You're the best.
Phyllis G. August 16, 2015
Yay! I also love putting this dressing on everything. Thanks for writing.
ustabahippie August 9, 2015
One of my favorite refrains...."How can they miss you if you don't go away?" Love the recipe too.
Phyllis G. August 16, 2015
Caitlin M. August 3, 2015
Phyllis - any subs for people avoiding raw egg (pregnant)? Should the dijon do the trick? Thank you, sounds amazing!
Phyllis G. August 3, 2015
Yes. Skip the egg. Dijon and creme fraiche will emulsify it for you. And congratulations!
Coco August 1, 2015
Made this last night, except I actually grilled the romaine rather than do it in a pan. I topped with some grilled avocado slices, grated parm and tomato wedges. It was fabulous and all guest raved about it. Loved the dressing, followed it to be letter other than I did include the anchovies oil. Definite keeper!
Phyllis G. August 3, 2015
I really do need to learn to grill. I love having avocado with this salad. Parmesan and tomatoes too? Great idea.
Coco August 3, 2015
Love this salad! And yes must grill it! Since the name was "grilled romaine salad", it never occurred to me not to grill it. I'm eating again tonight, as we speak, and the grilled avocado takes it to another level. The parm on the hot romaine adds another delicious factor, but it's your wonderful dressing that makes this salad rule. Thank you!!!
Linda July 27, 2015
Grill the trout or salmon right along side!
Phyllis G. July 28, 2015
Kate July 27, 2015
Will try salad but love story.
Phyllis G. July 28, 2015
thank you.
rparagus July 27, 2015
Can you use yogurt or sourcream in place of creme fraiche?
Phyllis G. July 28, 2015
I would recommend using a full fat yogurt. Or greek yogurt. Sour cream would work as well. Or mayonnaise.
Kim July 27, 2015
Where can I find that beautiful platter?!
Phyllis G. July 28, 2015
My husband gave me this platter for Mother's Day. On my blog right now, I have 8 different salads on this very platter. Sometimes I think the platter is telling me what salad to make. Goofy. I know. It's from a store called SHED in Healdsburg, California. I will try to find out the name of the designer because so many people have asked.
ivy G. July 27, 2015
I think this will be dinner tonight! But to truly be Californian, it needs to have the addition of sliced avocados.
btglenn July 27, 2015
Avocados are definitely a plus, and I would also include tomatoes. Also olive oil instead of butter, or, olive oil for the romaine and butter for the corn.
Why the "champagne vinegar." Here in L.A. we use apple or rice vinegar.
Mark Bittman, NY Times has a recipe for sautéing romaine if you don't have a grill to light up!
SallyM July 1, 2015
This looks amazing Phyllis - thank you!