Simmer and Smoke paired with Grilled Caesar Salad

Five years since inception and Simmer and Smoke is available in paper and Kindle, with other formats on the wing. Mallory, Shelby and Miss Ann are, at last, alive. A feeling akin to childbirth? Not quite. It’s more like a funeral and I’m mourning their loss.

I can’t revisit my people––give Mallory another pill washed down with booze; push Shelby any harder; tuck Miss Ann to sleep. So be it. I’ve begun a second book about my ladies, Where There’s Smoke, which is easing the pain of this temporary loss. If this sort of fiction appeals to you, the first few chapters are free for your perusal. Just click onto the Kindle site and tap the “Look inside” feature on the top, left-hand side of the screen.


Salmon Fillet with rub, pesto and lemon-herb butter–ready for the grill.

So what’s cookin’ with you? Summer’s settled the landscape, and it’s a pity to spend any more time indoors than necessary. Maybe your family, like mine, has taken to the grill–in our case the Big Green Egg.

The other night we were gifted (thank you Beth and Brian) a huge salmon fillet. We were debating its treatment before grilling and settled on a trio: 1/3 pesto, 1/3 rub, and 1/3 lemon-herb butter. Something for everyone, right?


Grilling romaine on the Egg.

And what better way to complement the salmon than with a Grilled Caesar Salad. Grilled romaine, especially when cooked over hardwood coals, is sublime.

Other heartier lettuces also hold their shape and are marvelous when exposed to the heat of a grill. Raddichio loses some of its bitter edge sweetening into a unique, nutty flavor, as does endive or escarole.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad


With all lettuces, simply halve or quarter the heads, ensuring the leaves remain connected at the stem end, brush with olive oil, and grill over medium to medium-high heat.

The lettuces will cook quickly and you’ll know they’re ready when softened and lightly browned here and there. Then, drizzle dressing (recipe below) into the cut side of the leaves, add slivers of Parmesan, quartered cherry tomatoes and croutons, if desired. Pass the anchovies.

The recipe below yields 1 cup of rich dressing; enough to douse 4-6 half-heads of grilled romaine. Years ago, Donna Newsom showed readers how to make a classic (not grilled) tableside Caesar from her long-ago days waiting tables at the venerable Lord Fox. Her recipe includes homemade croutons that would lend a crunchy addition to the salad.

Recipe: Classic Caesar Salad Dressing


  • 2-4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 egg yolks*
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. With a fork, mash together 2 teaspoons minced garlic, anchovy, and mustard.
  2. Whisk in egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
  3. Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Taste and add additional minced garlic, if desired, and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

*Egg may be “coddled” (shell pricked then boiled in water for 1 minute) before using, if desired.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 1 rich cup of dressing

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.


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