Let me start by saying that I've had a loooove affair with Caesar Salad since the first time we met. When I was a kid, croutons were the only reason to order salad at a restaurant. I'm totally serious! The second I saw Caesar salad on a menu, I immediately ordered it. Even if the dressing was suffocating the lettuce, I was guaranteed the crouton fix I was looking for.
One day in my teen years, I read that Caesar salad was the worst possible salad to eat if you were keeping an eye on your weight. It is like the Haagen-Daz of salads...meaning it's the most fattening salad out there. Like having a Big Mac..or two?? BIG SIGH. What was I to do? As a result, I stayed away from the Caesar for awhile. When I met my husband, his love for the salad rekindled mine. He is the person at restaurants who orders a Caesar with extra anchovies on the side. Total ick, I know. But to see the delight on his face when he bites into one is kinda worth it.
A few months ago, when I was super sick I asked Casey to make us dinner (a total rarity). He chose the lovely Caesar from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Foods cookbook! It is the star player of his cooking "rotation" (which I am secretly trying to add too). He's made it for us a few times and the results have been exceptional! All I have to do is make the croutons, and he's totally ready to make the salad (provided I have all the ingredients for him).
Today I decided treat him to a Caesar Salad for lunch because nothing pleases him more. It's the holidays and it's a Sunday so what better way to indulge? It's has lettuce in it, right?! That's healthy!
So how did it go?
I just got a "that was awesome" from my him. Which is probably the best possible phrase you could hear when you make a meal for someone! Don't you agree? So yes, it was awesome!
You really should try it.
I used the recipe from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Foods cookbook as a guide- so here is goes:
Wash your lettuce really well!
Get your croutons in the oven!
Gather your ingredients for the dressing & start mixing.
Chop up those anchovies! I'm totally prepared to lose a few of you here
Add in your yolk.
Whir up the dressing with an immersion blender!
Stir in the cheese.
Get your lettuce ready!
Slowly add your dressing.
Mix in some fresh grated Parmesan, ground pepper & croutons.
Prepare to have a wonderful meal!
Simple Caesar Salad
Serves about 4, but today it was just us two. Shut up! It's the holidays!
For the Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, pounded to a puree
- 2 teaspoons chopped salt- packed anchovies (I used about 2 tablespoons!)
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
For the Salad:
- 2 heads romaine lettuce
- CROUTONS!! (see recipe below)
1. Remove the outer darker green leaves, leaving only the smaller light green leaves of the romaine lettuce. Cut off stem ends and separate into leaves. Keep the small leaves at the heart intact, and tear the larger leaves in pieces. Wash well and spin dry in batches. Keep cool until ready to dress.
2. To make the dressing, mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic & anchovies in a bowl. Add olive oil and the egg yolk and mix the dressing with an immersion blender until well incorporated. Toss in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Add salt & pepper to taste. It's best to dip a lettuce leaf in the dressing to figure out if you need to add more acid or seasoning.
3. Put your lettuce in your tossing bowl. Add dressing a bit at a time and mix it up with some more Parmesan. Taste to see if it's been properly dressed. Arrange leaves on a plate. Throw the croutons in the empty bowl, scraping up the last of the dressing. Scatter them on top of the salad. Top with a little Parmesan cheese, and a some fresh ground pepper and ENJOY!!!
How I make big batch of Croutons:
- Half a loaf of day old country bread
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- dried herbs (I make a thyme, basil & oregano combo)
- garlic powder
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread up into small cubes. Layer on a cookie sheet. Add a few glugs of olive oil and toss around. Top with a few dashes of garlic powder & some dried herbs. Season top with salt & pepper and toss again.
2. Place prepared croutons into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stir and bake another 5-8 minutes until golden brown.
You MAY have some croutons leftover, but if you are me...you probably won't
Croutons--- the reason Caesar salads were invented.