The anchovies, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and Worcestershire Sauce came later.
Before we head to the recipe, here’s a bit of Food 101:
Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the world’s great cheeses; it has been described by connoisseurs as the King of Cheeses. Production is limited to areas, ingredients and techniques set in law in Italy.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a D.O.P. protected trade name. Exclusive control is exercised by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consorzio, the consortium of producers that presides over its production and sales.
Each wheel of cheese must meet strict criteria early in the aging process. The rinds of approved cheeses are heat branded on the rind with the Consorzio’s logo.
Wheels which fail to meet these criteria have their rinds stripped of all markings and cannot be sold as Parimigiano-Reggiano.
Parmigiano-style cheeses that are made outside of the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions of Italy, and outside the jurisdiction of the Consorzio, anywhere in the world, are called Parmesan.
They are not subject to the standards of the Consorzio. The D.O.P. ensures that you get authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, and all of the quality it ensures.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is much more expensive than parmesan: $ 37 per pound for a five-year-aged cheese, compared to #13 per pound for a domestic parmesan like BelGioioso.
If you’ve got the bucks, go for the best. Otherwise, pick up the parmesan.
1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Whisk the lemon juice, zest, Dijon mustard and sugar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Whisk in the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. SHAVE the parmesan cheese for the garnish. Here’s how.
3. GRILL the romaine. Grease the grill grate and heat the grill to medium. Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, brush the cut side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. GRILL them, cut sides down, until grill marks appear (about two minutes). Alternatively, you can grill the romaine, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally.
5. TRANSFER the romaine to a serving platter. You can serve half the head of romaine, or cut it into quarters by slicing the half once more. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with shaved parmesan and croutons.
Variation: After grilling, you can cut the grilled romaine crosswise into two-inch-wide strips to resemble a more traditional Caesar. Or, you can serve the leaves separated (photo #4) by cutting off the core and fanning the leaves.
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