Al Fresco Dining from the Grill

Spring showers have brought mild evenings and perfect weather for cooking on the grill. I can’t wait to have friends over for an al fresco dinner party, but I want to surprise them with a recipe you wouldn’t expect from the grill.

Of course, I will still get steaks, pork chops or burgers to serve, but a fun first course could be a Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad. I’m not just talking about grilling the shrimp. For this salad, I’ll also grill the romaine lettuce and croutons.

Large shrimp are marinated in Caesar dressing and loaded onto skewers for easy grilling. Then the romaine spears are halved, brushed with oil and placed on the grill until charred. You can even grill some garlic croutons to serve on top.

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread Croutons

2 heads romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, for sprinkling
1 lemon, halved
12 jumbo shrimp
Caesar salad dressing
1/2 baguette
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Remove the outer leaves of romaine and slice 1/2 inch off the top. Slice the heads in half. Brush the inside of the romaine with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over the romaine.

Place shrimp in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Let shrimp marinate for 5 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cut the baguette into one inch slices and then into large cubes. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a bowl and add the garlic powder. Stir to combine. Add the bread cubes and gently toss to coat. Thread the bread cubes onto skewers.

Light grill and heat to medium. Place the romaine on the grill, interior side down. Also add the shrimp and bread skewers. Grill the romaine until edges are charred and grill marks are visible. About two minutes. Remove from the grill and immediately brush with some of the Caesar dressing. Grill the shrimp on both sides until cooked through. About 5 minutes total. Grill the bread until golden and charred. About 4 minutes.

To assemble the salad, place a romaine half on a plate, add 4 shrimp and garlic bread croutons. Drizzle with additional dressing and top with Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Makes 4 salads.

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