Cast Iron

Grilled Romaine with Corn and Creamy Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette

June 16, 2015
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

  • Serves 2
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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  • 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.