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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For ladies who lunch....and me.

Oh my gosh. I just had the best dinner. It would be the perfect "ladies who lunch" meal. Fancy. Sophisticated. Gourmet. It's a sidewalk cafe, glass of pinot grigio kind of meal. Let's just pretend, for a moment, that I'm dressed in the hottest designer's spring line and oversized sunglasses...not sitting here in my jammies...the ones with the cute little sheep on them.

The spinach and goat cheese frittata I made tonight has become a staple weeknight meal for me. Quick and light, but still "close my eyes" good. But tonight, the salad takes center stage. Tonight, my friends, I had a grilled romaine salad with a homemade Caesar dressing.

I know I don't have to remind you (again) that your standard restaurant Caesar salad is not diet food. But I'm going to. It is not diet food! As I said recently, most restaurant salads might as well be called bowls of cheese and bacon, because that's what they are. Even the Caesar, with it's meager, yet wonderful, Parmesan and croutons can boast upwards over 500 calories -- and that's without any chicken! Yikes! You might as well order the lasagna. OK, I said it, and I feel better. And of course my Caesar dressing won't throw your diet off the wagon. Mine is a delicious, creamy Caesar with only 35 calories per 2-tbsp serving. "But dah-ling, you can't be serious," you purr in your lady who lunches voice. Oh, but I am.

And when I say grilled, I'm not talking about grilled chicken Caesar. No sir. I'm talking about grilled lettuce. Insanity. I literally had a salad consisting of half a head of romaine and some dressing...and it was one of the best salads I've ever had. For only 55 calories. So if you've never grilled romaine lettuce, you must. Tonight. Well, maybe tomorrow, since you should really make the dressing first. Look at those grill marks!

To grill romaine lettuce, split a whole head lengthwise, keeping the leaves attached. Mist both sides lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a pepper. Put them cut side down on a hot grill (gas or charcoal, doesn't matter) and grill for 3 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. WOW. The flavor is like nothing you've ever tasted.

And now for the crowning glory. Because even as good as it is, you don't really want to eat plain lettuce, do you?

The Svelte Gourmet Creamy Caesar Dressing
Serves 6

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% fat)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp anchovy paste (most grocery stores have this)
1 tsp salt (This may seem like a lot, but the serving size is small once you toss it with the salad and it really brings out the flavors. Adjust to taste if you like.)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

Whisk all ingredients together. If you like a creamier dressing, you can blend it with an immersion blender, but I like mine thicker. Also, this dressing gets better after the flavors have had a chance to meld, so you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

Paired with the goat cheese frittata and a glass of wine, this would be the perfect spa meal. In fact, if I opened a spa, this would be my signature dish. And my spa would only have pedicures, back scratching and hair brushing....because really, what else do you need?

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. (Most of these recipes are not available on the blog.) Enjoy!


Jessica said...

I am totally going to make this tomorrow night... Remember the Belvidere restaurant here in Lancaster? They make a delish grilled caesar but I've never tried it at home!

YUM! Tnx!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Yay, let me know what you think! =)

Unknown said...

This sounds fantastic, Jen! I can't wait to try it. I'm a huge Caesar salad fan and I love homemade dressings, especially those that aren't so fattening. Now that I'm home during the day, I'm always looking for good lunch recipes (one can only eat pb&j so often). :) Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I should clarify, since I just realized this account is under my husband's name, this is Adrienne. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Jenny I'm trying this tomorrow.
Your creativity consistanly astounds me! I miss your yummy cookin!

Anonymous said...

Clarification! This is Julie! <3

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Thanks everyone, let me know what you think! =)

Unknown said...

This is so delicious! Thanks :) I've made it the last three days in a row. Addicted.

The Svelte Gourmet said...

So glad you like it! Thanks for reading!