Sunday, June 27, 2010

Caesar salad with anchovy croutons

A traditional Caesar salad is of course made with romaine lettuce. We actually have some in the garden, which has filled out nicely. So we took a Melissa Clark NY Times recipe, tinkered with it, and made this wet-your-pants-good concoction. Then we made it again, and again. Each time a detail or two was altered.
Don’t be put off by the quantity of anchovies. The flavor just blends into both the croutons and the dressing.
We almost always have homemade croutons on hand from the ends of baguettes we get for lunchtime sandwiches. This recipe makes enough dressing for the two of us to have twice. We had just 7 shrimp in the freezer and so extended the protein by adding 3 slices of crisp bacon (400 degree oven for 20 minutes).

Serve the romaine as separated leaves, cut across into 1” pieces. Sometimes I like to slice the romaine in half lengthwise and leave it intact – your choice.

Caesar salad with anchovy croutons
½ cup olive oil
7 anchovy filets, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
3 oz. crusty day-old bread in 3/4” cubes
1/8 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs
1 medium head romaine lettuce for each 2 servings (substitute other greens as you choose)
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

The protein:
3 oz. cooked shrimp per serving
3 slices crispy bacon, broken in pieces
Make croutons: Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the anchovies and cook, stirring, until they melt into oil, about 2 minutes. Stir in half the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bread cubes, salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Toast, tossing frequently, until croutons are golden and crisp, 3-5 minutes.

Make dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining garlic and anchovies, plus lemon juice, mustard, W-sauce and remaining pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining olive oil (I found I did not need all of it; just taste as you go along).Prepare eggs: poach them in simmering water to which a bit of vinegar has been added. Or soft boil them in the shell (4 minutes). Or (as I did last night) throw them into the pan where you’ve cooked the shrimp and stir around with a spatula for 15-20 seconds. Make them as runny or fully cooked as you prefer.
Assembly: Combine greens, cheese and croutons in a large bowl. Add some dressing and toss to coat. Toss well and add salt to taste. Put into wide bowls and garnish with cooked shrimp, bacon, and an egg to make a complete meal.


Jenn said...

LOL...wet your pants good.. I love it!!! I have always refrained from creating caesar salads because of my "fear" of anchovies. I love caesar salads, mind you, and I even found a recipe for a dressing without anchovies, but now.. now I must give it a shot...make the real thing!! Thanks for sharing, it looks delicious!!

Andrea said...

I'm going to have to get brave & buy some real anchovies so I can try this. It sounds delicious!! Aren't homemade croutons the best? We love them here, I'm looking forward to trying this new flavor.

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