caesar salad with homemade croutons

November 8, 2012

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It might seem a little crazy that I’m posting a recipe for a Caesar salad but it’s just that good. Caesar salads and I go way back. When I was little it was pretty much the only thing I’d order when I went out to dinner with my family. I’ve probably had every Caesar salad in the whole city of Los Angeles! As an adult I still enjoy them but more often than not I get extremely disappointed when they’re not done right. It seems hard to mess up, but trust me it happens far too often. The lettuce is still wet so the dressing doesn’t stick, too much anchovy, not enough anchovy, stale croutons {even worse- packaged croutons!}. This recipe from Wolfgang Puck is a good standby when I’m craving a Caesar but don’t want to be disappointed. I made a few adjustments but obviously this guy knows what he’s doing! 
Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons loosely adapted from Wolfgang Puck
CROUTON INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
One 1-pound loaf of day-old sourdough bread, sliced and cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
SALAD INGREDIENTS
1 large head of romaine lettuce
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
DRESSING INGREDIENTS (makes 2 cups)
1 egg
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 anchovy fillets, mashed (sometimes I use 3!)
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS
Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, cheese, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Add the bread and toss to coat. Arrange on tray in single layer and bake until golden, turning to brown all sides, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, mustard, and anchovies. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it emulsifies. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container and whisk when ready to use.
Make the salad: Trim the lettuce and toss with some of the Caesar Vinaigrette. Arrange on salad plates and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese, if desired. Arrange croutons on top and serve immediately.
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Wolfgang Puck actually recommends spreading a layer of Black and Green Olive Tapenade on one side of the croutons but it’s a little much for me when all I want is the salad. It’s good, though, if you’re feeling extra fancy and have a little more time on your hands. I definitely recommend making the croutons yourself though. Homemade croutons are insanely good, with or without a salad!
Do any of you have a go to meal or salad?
xox
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