Grilled caesar salads have been all the rage for a while now, but I could never bring myself to get on board. Caesar salad is so perfect and crisp as it is…why mess that up by getting the lettuce all wilty? Well I can now say you won’t mess anything up by tossing your romaine on the grill. I won’t say it makes a better caesar salad, but it does make a totally new and cool salad. But I didn’t just update the caesar in one way. Oh no no noooo. I gave the caesar TWO updates. Since I was serving this on Taco Tuesday, I made I Mexican Caesar. A Grilled Mexican Caesar.
This salad comes together super quickly, mostly because I decided not to make the dressing from scratch. Simply take bottled caesar dressing and doctor it up by adding minced jalapeñ, chopped cilantro, and cumin to taste. Your dressing is done in seconds. For the lettuce, slice romaine hearts in half but leave that core in tact on the bottom so lettuce leaves will stay together. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw on the grill. It will take less than 10 minutes to cook. When it looks about halfway done, toss some shrimp on the grill as well (they only take a few minutes). The shrimp can also be simply seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but you could also add some cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder if you’d like an extra pow of flavor. To build your salad, take a romaine half, drizzle with your dressing, and top with the shrimp, cotija cheese (instead of the usual parm) and pepitas (instead of the usual croutons).
This is a terrific spin on a traditional caesar salad and I love all the zing from the Mexican flavors. There are plenty of more complicated Mexican caesar recipes out there, but why bother when this one comes out so tasty? Also, what a presentation! We were in charge of supper for the whole extended fam for one night at our beach house and this was such a simple showstopper.