The other day I wanted to put a salad on the table. At first, I thought I would go with a standard green leaf, and mixture of raw vegetables so that the kids could chose from, but then I decided that I would quickly make a classic caesar salad, and see if they would nibble. My kids aren’t fish, but often times, when I lay the bait, and in this case, the bait being some really great croutons, I thought they would make an attempt at the dressed lettuce.
No luck on my kids pulling in the dressed greens, but man, I did it right on the caesar salad. I’ve been watching people make caesar salads throughout my life, and in particular in restaurants and market places to see how they really go about making one. A couple of key ingredients I realized are egg yolks and anchovies. Yes, anchovies, and trust me, there is nothing wrong with the ingredient of anchovies. In fact, I will admit, that anchovies rock.
- 1/2 head of Romaine lettuce, a few outer leaves, and more of the hearts, cleaned and torn into pieces
- 1/2 good baguette, cut into large cubes
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 oz anchovy filets
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan or romano cheese
Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Take the cubed bread and toss it with the butter, olive oil, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Make sure the bread gets a little bit of everything. Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 11-13 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Please note that these croutons alone are very addicting. You might want to make another batch just for snacking on.
Next, to a mortar and pestle, or if you do not have one, to a bowl, add in the garlic and anchovies. Mash into a paste, then add in the remaining black pepper, dijon, egg yolk, lemon juice, and worcestershire sauce. Mix well, then get your whisk out, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to whisk until you have a great dressing.
Add the lettuce to a large bowl, add the dressing, croutons, and mix well. Grate the parmesan or romano cheese over the top, and mix again.
Serve immediately. As I lost in terms of my kids not eating the lettuce, I won in terms of satisfying my desires on such a classic salad. Simple, satisfying, and delicious. I might have to bag up the croutons and sell them. Enjoy.