Alison's Lunch

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caesar salad with garlicky croutons

caesar salad with garlicky croutons

This is a fun salad—and it makes a head of romaine into a complete meal. You can make a double batch of this dressing and refrigerate the leftovers in a jar for a meal later in the week, so you’re cooking once for two dinners.

It’s a great dish for company, and it’s very easy to bring it along to a potluck dinner—just bring all the components separately, and don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to sit down and eat. (Otherwise, the lettuce will wilt before you eat it.) It’s based on a recipe from Peggy Knockerbocker’s book Olive Oil: From Tree to Table.

I generally just serve this as an entire meal, because who wants to eat anything else? However, if you feel you need a little extra protein, it’s very nice topped with slices of grilled chicken breast or halibut (season with salt and pepper before grilling).

dressing:

half of a 2-ounce tin of oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and blotted dry on paper towels
3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
fresh-ground pepper

In a food processor or blender, combine the anchovies and garlic and process to mix. Add the egg, most of the lemon juice, and the mustard and process to combine. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. Season with pepper and process again. Taste, and add as much of the remaining lemon juice as needed to get a good balance of flavors. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

salad & croutons:

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 large heads romaine lettuce, or 3 hearts of romaine
5 slices hearty whole-grain bread (preferably whole-wheat sourdough)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed in a garlic press
¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the garlic with the salt in the bottom of a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the olive oil. Cut the slices of bread into ½” cubes and toss them in the garlicky oil until the oil is thoroughly absorbed and distributed. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes, until the croutons are crispy and golden-brown.
2. While the croutons are baking, wash the lettuce, dry the leaves and tear into pieces, and place in a large salad bowl.
3. When you’re ready to sit down and eat, drizzle some of the dressing over the leaves and toss, adding more dressing as needed until all the leaves are coated. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, toss again to mix, and then toss in the croutons. Sprinkle with pepper and serve right away, before the lettuce wilts.