Hot dogs are rarely seen without their squishy bun sidekicks—but why? This sausage is highly seasoned, fully cooked, with a snappy casing that’s ready to crisp up on a moment’s notice—just like bacon, pancetta, and other salty-meaty staples. In this Big Little Recipe, butterflied and scored hot dogs get charred on a grill, then diced into crispies.
Think of these crispies as a seasoning, even an accessory, perfect for decorating any vegetable or salad. Use in place of bacon in a cobb salad. Sprinkle on roasted cauliflower. Or, because the grill is on anyway, try out this grilled romaine situation.
The called-for two hot dogs will yield a lighter side salad. But, if you want, you can increase that to three hot dogs for a heartier salad main, alongside something starchy like potato or macaroni salad. Likewise, dill pickles can be swapped out for something sweeter like bread-and-butter, or funkier like sauerkraut or kimchi.
This is one of our Big Little Recipes, our weekly column all about dishes with big flavor and little ingredient lists. Do you know (and love) a recipe that’s low in ask, high in reward? Let us know in the comments. —Emma Laperruque
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Grilled Romaine With Hot Dog Crispies & Pickle-Mustard Vinaigrette
While that’s heating up, brush the romaine with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Slice the hot dogs lengthwise but not quite all the way, so they open up like a book. Flip over so they’re lying flat on the cutting board, then score with lots of tiny slits, taking care not to cut all the way.
The grill should be hot by now. Add the hot dogs, flat side facing down, and cover. Set a timer for 6 minutes.
While those are cooking, slice or dice the pickles however you want. Add 1/4 cup of pickle brine to a bowl, along with the mustard and 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir with a fork until emulsified, then season with salt to taste.
After 6 minutes, use tongs to flip the hot dogs. Add the romaine to the grill and cover. Cook the lettuce for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom is deeply charred. Flip and cook another minute or so, just to kiss the other side. Transfer the romaine to a platter. Keep cooking the hot dogs, grill covered, while you dress the lettuce with the vinaigrette (you might not use all of it) and sprinkle with the diced pickles.
Once the hot dogs are starting to curl and char, transfer them to a cutting board and finely dice. Sprinkle them all over the salad and serve with any remaining vinaigrette for people to drizzle on top as they eat.
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.