Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four--for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: Say goodbye to mushy, flavorless caesar salads--and hello to this fresh, grilled take on the classic recipe.

Photo: Caroline Wright

Caesar salad is a dish I never make at home and that I order at restaurants only on very rare occasions. I hardly ever crave it when dining out--unless it is the safest bet at a questionable establishment. Even then, I expect to be served a gloppy, cheesy plate. It's not really a meal to me--it's an easy solution.

I set about changing that tune with this recipe: It's a simple chopped salad of grilled greens, chicken, and bread, flecked with briny anchovy paste and flakes of cheese, and brightened with a generous squeeze of lemon. The result is crisp, fresh, and vibrant, and the flavor of the lettuce holds strong despite the bold flavors and textures. Consider me converted.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika1 teaspoon anchovy paste2 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise with root intact2 chicken cutlets (about 1/2 pound total) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperTwo 1-inch slices fresh country bread2 tablespoons lemon juice3 tablespoons mayonnaise2 ounces pecorino cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler