This recipe is part of the Just Picked series, a partnership between Modern Farmer + Foodterra.
Grilled Napa Cabbage Caesar Salad
Devotees of the classic Caesar may question their loyalties after trying our char-grilled napa cabbage version. After a brief time over a hot flame, the cabbage develops an irresistible sweetness, acquires crispy blackened edges, and softens slightly while still retaining some crunch. Our scallion-flecked dressing, a squeeze of caramelized lemon, and grilled-not-baked croutons may turn romaine lettuce traditionalists into cabbage Caesar converts.
1 head napa cabbage (cut lengthwise into wedges, leaving core intact)
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4–6 slices baguette (cut on the bias)
1 lemon (cut in half)
Charred Scallion Caesar Dressing ((recipe below))
4–6 boquerones (marinated white anchovy fillets)
Parmesan cheese (for shaving)
Preheat a grill to high heat. Place cabbage wedges on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Drizzle with oil to coat, getting into the nooks and crannies, and season with salt and pepper. Working on a plate, coat both sides of baguette slices with oil (use a brush, if you like) and season with salt.
Brush cut sides of lemon with oil and grill, face down, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. While lemons are grilling, make the dressing.
Grill cabbage, turning wedges occasionally, for 3–4 minutes or until slightly softened and nicely charred on all sides. Add baguette slices and grill on both sides until edges are toasty brown, 2–3 minutes.
Transfer cabbage to a platter, drizzle with dressing to taste, and top with anchovies. Squeeze one half of lemon over salad and serve the other half alongside. Shave some Parmesan over the top and finish with baguette slices, left whole or chopped up into croutons.
Charred Scallion Caesar Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil (plus more for brushing scallion greens)
3 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
4–5 capfuls honey wine vinegar ((we use Slide Ridge brand))
4–6 boquerones ((marinated white anchovy fillets))
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 farm-fresh egg
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat a grill to high heat. Cut off bottoms of scallions, including about an inch of the greens, and roughly chop. Coat scallion greens with oil (use a brush, if you like) and grill them for 4–5 minutes, until they get a nice char.
In a blender, combine chopped scallions, scallion greens, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and anchovies and season with salt and pepper. Blend until semi-smooth. Scrape down sides of blender and add egg and Parmesan. Blend on slow to medium speed, gradually pouring in the oil, until dressing is smooth but not runny. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
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