Grilled Caesar salad, pork chops, and basil rice | foodsciencenerd.com

Classy Weeknight Dinner: Pork Chops, Pesto Rice, and Grilled Caesar Salad

Posted on Posted in Recipes

This is an old blog post, but I’m re-releasing it with new photos and an updated method!

A few weekends ago, my boyfriend and I were treated to an absolutely incredible meal at one of Mario Batali’s restaurants in celebration of his Masters graduation.  Every course was just astounding, but by far my favorite part of the meal (that I could reproduce, at least) was the grilled romaine with lobster, croutons, and Caesar dressing.  I wanted to try my hand at grilling romaine, but I wasn’t about to buy lobster, so I decided to pair it with pork chops and rice.  Of course, I couldn’t just serve plain rice, so I looked on Pinterest for inspiration.  I ended up making pesto brown rice inspired by this blog, but I didn’t have time to roast the garlic so I tossed it in with the onion and it turned out quite well:

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While the rice was cooking, I seared a few pork chops, seasoned very simply with salt and pepper, over high heat in a cast iron pan:

Grilled Caesar salad, pork chops, and basil rice | foodsciencenerd.com

 

I also threw in some local heirloom cherry tomatoes just until the skins began to pop, just for some extra acidity in the meal.

Now for the piece de resistance: the grilled romaine.  Because I’m strange, I diced up a small whole grain baguette and tossed it over high heat with olive oil and salt, but you could just buy croutons.

Grilled Caesar salad, pork chops, and basil rice | foodsciencenerd.com

Then, I sliced romaine hearts, exactly down the center as to keep the lettuce connected at the base, and brushed each side with olive oil and salt.

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Carefully place the romaine, cut side down, into the cast iron, heated up very, very hot, and allow to almost blacken.  Then flip and allow to sear on the other side, and try not to eat it while it’s still in the pan.  You could make your own dressing, but the ingredients in Caesar dressing disgust me (though the final product is quite delicious), so I bought a yogurt-based Caesar dressing instead.

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Top with the croutons, a bit of dressing, and some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, and serve proudly alongside the rice and pork (sommelier not included, unfortunately).

Grilled Caesar salad, pork chops, and basil rice | foodsciencenerd.com

Grilled Caesar Salad

Yield: 2 servings

Grilled Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup croutons, preferably homemade
  • Two romaine hearts, halved lengthwise with base intact
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Greek-yogurt-based Caesar dressing
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan

Directions

  1. If making croutons, prepare them by dicing up a small baguette and toasting it over high heat with olive oil and salt.
  2. Brush each side of the romaine with olive oil and salt.
  3. Carefully place the romaine, cut side down, over very high heat into the preheated cast iron, and allow to almost blacken. Then flip and allow to sear on the other side.
  4. Top with the croutons, a bit of dressing, and some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
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3 thoughts on “Classy Weeknight Dinner: Pork Chops, Pesto Rice, and Grilled Caesar Salad

    1. No problem- It’s such a great alternative to plain old brown rice, so I had to give credit where credit is due!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!