Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
This Caesar salad recipe is a bit of a departure from the true purist version, but we've been making it for years and never heard any complaints. The crunchy garlic croutons add a lot of extra flavor and the dressing has all the classic elements, but is very simple to make. Serve as a side salad or top with grilled steak, chicken or shrimp for a complete, light meal. Also, be sure to check the recipe notes for our shortcut and substitution tips.
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- For the croutons:
- 1-1/2 cups diced Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Pinch of salt
- For the dressing:
- 1 small clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (see notes)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 4 anchovies, rinsed and finely chopped (see notes)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the croutons ~
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and smashed garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and add the bread cubes. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the bread has absorbed all the butter-oil mixture. Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet and bake until crisp and light golden, about 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the dressing ~
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and anchovies. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice or Worcestershire if desired. Set aside.
Assemble the salad ~
Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the dressing and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss well, taste for seasoning and add a bit of salt if needed. Add the grated parmesan cheese and croutons, toss again and transfer to serving plates.
Makes 4 servings
We like to use pasteurized eggs whenever possible. Davidson's Safest Choice is a widely available brand and we find them to be consistently fresh and delicious. If you can't find pasteurized fresh eggs, the egg substitute sold in the carton will do. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons.
If you're in a hurry and don't want to fuss with whole anchovies, substitute 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste from a tube. The taste is pretty good, although it can be a little more salty. You can also use Asian fish sauce in a pinch, but be very careful. Be sure to cut back on added salt, start with just 1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more in 1/4 teaspoon increments until you're happy with the flavor.