Fried Egg Caesar Salad
We're big fans of a good Caesar salad and frequently enjoy it as a main dish topped with traditional choices like grilled chicken, steak or shrimp, but lately we've taken to serving it with an over-easy egg on top. We've adapted our standard recipe a bit by adding slices of lightly toasted garlic and modifying the dressing slightly to better complement the egg. The end result is a deliciously satisfying dinner salad that goes from kitchen to table in no time at all.
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- White truffle oil for drizzling (optional)
For the dressing:
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see notes)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (see notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 225°F and line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking the oil, garlic, lemon juice, fish sauce, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook until barely golden on both sides, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes total. Use a slotted spatula to transfer the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and leave the oil in the pan.
- Note: For best results, cook the garlic slices in a single layer, moving them around the pan continually. Turn them over with a spatula as soon as you see the slightest bit of color developing on the first side. You want to develop a mellow, lightly toasted flavor, so avoid browning.
- Add the chopped garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bread cubes and cook, tossing frequently with a spatula, until the bread is lightly toasted and has absorbed the butter-oil mixture, 1 minute.
- Transfer the croutons to the prepared baking sheet and bake until they're crisp on the outside, but still slightly soft on the inside, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl, sprinkle with the grated cheese and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and return it to the stove over medium heat. Add 2 of the eggs and cook just until the whites are set.
- Using 2 spatulas, gently flip the eggs over, being careful not to break the yolks. Continue cooking until the yolks reach the desired doneness. We like our yolks runny, which only takes about 1 minute once the egg has been flipped.
- Transfer the cooked eggs to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining eggs.
- Tip: Tilting the pan and spooning a little of the hot oil onto the part of the egg white closest to the yolk before flipping speeds the cooking of the white just a little, and helps to keep the yolk from overcooking.
- Give the dressing a quick whisk, then drizzle it over the lettuce. Toss to combine, then add the toasted garlic, croutons and a few grinds of black pepper. Plate 4 individual servings of salad and top each with an egg.
- For an extra treat, drizzle each serving with a bit of truffle oil and a pinch of truffle salt if desired. Serve immediately.
We've revamped our Caesar dressing a little to incorporate common, on-hand, pantry ingredients and remove the risks associated with the more traditional raw egg.
We've found that mayonnaise makes a perfectly acceptable substitute for the raw egg in a conventional Caesar dressing, and Asian fish sauce (which is made with anchovies), works just as well, if not better, than chopped anchovies or anchovy paste.
Caesar salad purists might disagree, but we've served this dressing a number of times and never had anything but good feedback.